this week i was the lucky recipient of a surprise visitor to Paris. a friend & classmate of my friend Sarah Anderson, and fellow Californian (via Las Vegas), Cayetano Ferrer was en route to Madrid from Germany, and thought “Paris, why not?” if you’d like to check out his homepage, and i recommend you do, it’s HERE. though i spent the good portion of the week fighting with server permissions, and transferring the blog to its new home, we did manage to get out a bit together and see some art and share the requisite Parisian crèpe eating experience.
CHASING NAPOLEON à la Palais de Tokyo
i’m kicking myself for not having photographed the exterior courtyard that night… under 4″ of snow, the fountain frozen over, and the steps slick with ice, it was almost impossible to recall my previously cached images of that place (graffiti-ed over stone, skate-boarding youths, some with beers cans, wine bottles, cigarettes, litter floating in the pond.
(my translation of) the curator’s statement follows:
“1977, Theodore Kaczynski-who no longer responds to the name “Unabomber” lives alone in a small cabin in anticipation of “the collapse of the technological system.” Paul Laffoley finished The Renovatio Mundi confined in the 20 sq. m studio of his studio, and Dieter Roth worked on a project of grand scope: the photographic inventory of all the roads and houses in Reykjavik (35,000 approx). The same year, the Community Reinvestment Act passes, and a “subprime” enters the language of global banking.
Vacillating interpretations, reversal of values, paradox of situations… Chasing Napoleon takes the act of a Bérézina that throws off-kilter reality itself. After (the previous exhibitions) “Spy Numbers,” and “Gakona,” the specter of the electromagnetic, and of the infra-mince (Duchampean idea of the in-between time/space), Marc-Olivier Wahler reunites eighteen artists for whom the works are all instructions for avoiding scrutiny, and finding refuge in the margins of the visible.”
The artists : DAVE ALLEN / MICOL ASSAËL / CHRISTOPH BÜCHEL / DORA WINTER / GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON / DAVID FINCHER / TOM FRIEDMAN / RYAN GANDER / ROBERT GOBER / ROBERT KUSMIROWSKI / PAUL LAFFOLEY / TONY MATELLI / OLA PEHRSON / CHARLOTTE POSENENSKE / HANNAH RICKARDS / DIETER ROTH /
TONY SMITH / JOHN TREMBLAY
Paul Laffoley in conversation :
at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris – ARC
(à coté de la Palais de Tokyo)
your last words. your last meal. your last experience listening to music. your last kiss. your last sarcone’s hoagie. imagine all these. i mean, imagine knowing full well that it may be your very last, this one right here, in front of you, this person right here in your arms, and this last morsel of hoagie, it’s the last one for you.
i highly recommend watching the video above, the curator’s statement about the deadline exhibition. in brief, the exhibition centers around the idea of “last works,” primarily of artists with terminal illnesses, who fully aware of their imminent ends, infused their last oeuvres with a force that we healthy people cannot imagine. years ago, i wrote a paper on Deleuze, Peter Greenaway, and the impossibility of imagining auto-defenestration. while it’s possible that we can imagine all those experiences falling from some too-high elevation, it’s frankly impossible to imagine our own bodies hurtling through a space at such a great speed that the impact would kill us. and so, it’s with this sort of awe, terror, and curiosity that we approach the works in Deadline.
the show features works by: Martin Kippenberger, Hans Hartung, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gilles Aillaud, Hannah Villiger, Absalom, James Lee Byars, Joan Mitchell, Chen Zhen, Willem de Kooning, and Jörg Immendorff.
Absalom’s three videos, entitled “Bruits,” “Bataille,” and “Solutions,” are short films of actions, respectively: yelling in bursts until the throat is too raw to continue (i cried watching this), fighting off imaginary enemies whilst wearing a suit, and the artist at a table eating, drinking, smoking, being calm.
The Death of James Lee Byars (excellently reviewed here)
Robert Mapplethorpe’s last series possesses a sort of gloomy luminescence not uncommon to his earlier work. but in this setting, in this context it’s a much seriouser thing. take for example “Bust & Skull,” image below. perhaps it ought to’ve been titled “Pan, Death, Self Portrait.”
Jörg Immendorff’s enormous untitled works from the last years of his life reflect the evolution of the disease from which he’d suffered, “lateral amyotrophic sclerosis.” more than any other artist included in this exhibition, Immendorff’s works seemed to be the artist’s great triumph…the crowning achievement of his entire oeuvre. i’m aware this is arguable, and it’s a loaded thing to say, but i’m just saying. and what’s further, the last years of his life were pretty scandalous… i’d forgotten..