Wild Men in the Looking Glass

January 14 to February 18, 2006

curated by croy nielsen

Opening Reception:
Friday, January 13, 7 to 9 pm

Featuring works by:

Maija Blåfield
Oliver Croy with Edwin Lipburger
Anssi Kasitonnni
David Maljkovic

Edwin Lipburger, Vision, silkscreen print, 1970-1996
Courtesy the artist

The concept of the wild man or the savage originally applied to individuals who did not fit into civilised society: primitive and dangerous beings who lived very near us but outside the polis and its regulations. Today, it embodies the individual who lives among us but responds to an otherness that is not easily assimilated and threatens our way of life. Wild Men in the Looking Glass brings together four film– and video–works that reflect Otherness from various points of view. Whether fictive or documentary, they focus on individuals or small groups that form a counter-reaction, an alternative reality or private revolutions; various acts that express a critique of the current state of affairs, and are imbued with a heroic desire to change the world.

Maija Båfield’s Saving The World reflects the inner reality of Marcel Bloemendal who suffers from schizophrenia and believes he is a secret agent set out to save the world. For five years Blåfield has joined parts of his never-ending missionary journey between the European capitals: from a demonstrating crowd in Stockholm to a clairvoyant in Vienna. We experience reality through the eyes of Bloemendal and are gradually convinced by his own logic concerning his disease:” if I did not have it I would be just boring and average, but now I can save the world”. The film questions the problematic line between normality and abnormality, sanity and insanity.

Oliver Croy’s Counter-Communities #3, Republik Kugelmugel is also centred on a self-willed person. In the early 1970s, the Austrian artist Edwin Lipburger built a house in the shape of a ball. Provoked by a series of complaints from the Austrian Authorities (due to missing building licences), he declared ”Kugelmugel” (”Ball-hill”) an independent state. This was the beginning of an endless lawsuit between Lipburger and the Austrian State, resulting in a six-week jail sentence for Lipburger. The video is presented next to a selection of Lipburger’s artworks related to the project such as posters, photos and stamps.

The Knockers by Anssi Kasitonni is an odd combination of rural prospects, science fiction and television police shows. The two leading characters, a father and son duo, express a dissatisfaction with society by their desire to get "something more". But as they leave to carry out a planned bank robbery, two strange creatures living in a subterranean high tech space capsule enter the scene. As representations of consciousness, the creatures become alarmed whenever something immoral is about to happen. While the film is realised with very primitive special effects and a good deal of humor, it is also ruthlessly serious.

A similar description could be applied to David Maljkovic’s Scene for New Heritage, which also invokes a parallel world, however, through a displacement in time. In the year of 2045, a group of young men set out in a quest for their heritage and arrive at what, to them, is an unknown place: a former monument during the communist era in Croatia. The men begin speaking in the tongue of ”ganga”, a traditional Croatian folk song, performed in primitive polyphonic rhyme lines. A clash occurs between past, present and future, as the men’s ignorance create nervousness, and the issue of heritage remains unsolved.

croy nielsen is an independent project space in Berlin, run by Oliver Croy and Henrikke Nielsen. For further information, please visit www.croynielsen.de.

This exhibition is kindly supported by FRAME, Finnish Fund for Art Exchange the Arts Division of the Fedral Chancellery, Austria and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Wild Men in the Looking Glass was selected from the 2005-06 proposal submissions to ART2102 by a guest committee. The committee included Magali Arriola, Drew Heitzler, Rika Hiro, Ronni Kimm and John Souza. For more information, please visit http://art2102.org/pages/proposal.html.

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