Saturday 24 March 2007


Exhibitions’ Ruins / Emotional Landscapes

With Birgir Andrésson, Stefan Brüggemann, Nicolas Garait, Loris Gréaud, Elin Hansdottir, M/M (Paris) & Gabriela Fridriksdottir, Gustav Metzger, Jeremy Millar, Francois Morellet, Olivier Mosset, & Claude Rutault.

An exhibition by Mathieu Copeland.

At the SAFN Collection Reykjavik,
17/03/2007 – 12/05/2007

Some notes:

« Exhibitions’ ruins / Emotional Landscapes » is a discursive exhibition on the nature of exhibitions, or rather on what remains of exhibitions; Somehow a necrophagous & cannibal exhibition – not only is this exhibition composed of remains, or fragments, of exhibitions, but it feeds itself from these.

The artworks are as many autonomous elements that articulate themselves around their past histories, past moments of exhibitions. Assembled, they generate an exhibition constituted of elements that fundamentally belongs to itself, literally creating its support structure.

To use a common analogy, as opposed to the idea of a ghost, here we only deal with a shell, the rests of a decomposing corpse. Here the exhibition is constituted of remains, here only the exhibition remains. An exhibition that becomes the shadow of a corpse, the corpse becoming its form. Similar to a constant expectation, this temporary recreation of diverse exhibitions uses bribes of the past as as-many fundamental elements for an exhibition to come. Similarly to decomposition being an active process, the artworks that compose the exhibition are as many invitations to engage with the landscape they contributed, and contribute, to form.

These emotional landscapes, these artworks are somehow referent to imaginary (or extinguished) landscapes. These environments emotionally charged refer to the creation of abstract environments, landscapes that reveals themselves as we are presented with them. Illusory as they are personal and mental, these moments characterise all the reactions that we experience when confronted to this temporary grouping of art works (an exhibition) – artworks that constitute an exhibition that embodies itself in the mind of the one who sees it. Each artwork draws a part of the environment of an exhibition, and further more offers an environment in itself.

Gallery Text:

Stefan Brüggemann realises his artwork OFF (A 1969 DAN FAVIN UNTITLED SCULPTURE TURNED OFF) in unplugging a Dan Flavin. Discussing the memory of an artwork, this piece offers a gloomy & emotional contribution to the exhibition, ‘as a light sculpture switched off is a complete ruin’.

The monochrome photographs (Not Yet Titled, 2006), and the abstract colour grid (The Weather Scales – Waves Height 24h), plays upon the abstraction of colour insisting in there true nature (the photographs being colours obtained with no film or image, the colour grid being everyday monochrome from newspaper). All abstracted from Nicolas Garait’s end of studies shows, ruins literally transcribed within the frame of a collective exhibition.

Olivier Mosset’s artwork « Cimaise – Sculpture en 5 éléments » (Stands, Sculpture in 5 elements) from 1993 is a sculpture composed with motifs, five white monochrome structures where what is announced is what is. A minimal artwork that becomes, at least partially, as from its use and its title, the physical structure of the exhibition.

François Morellet presents two 1⁄2 artworks (69 & Doggystyle) « that for the time of the exhibition have the same meaning (even the same value) as those two 1⁄2 works remaining in Cholet in France » in the artist studio. Remaining of artworks « frivolous & rude whilst being very very minimal, precision & absurdity always together » extracted, at least partially, from his exhibition « Geometrie dans les spasmes (Geometry in spasmes) from 1986.

« Frequency of an Image » is a sound piece recorded whilst the artist Loris Gréaud was thinking about his exhibition to come, therefore realising an electroencephalogram to listen to, “abstract & noisy, rather linear, the variations being rather minute, constant in my thoughts”. An exhibition to listen to, to imagine what will be.

Jeremy Millar’s « Notes Towards Zugzwang (almost complete) » is a sound piece abstracted from his recent movie Zugzwang (almost complete), where what we hear exceeds what had to be seen, as in an aleatory mode all the quotation and breves (all notes) written by Millar on Marcel Duchamp’ journey to England are read by artist Pierre Huyghe, the aleatory mode reminding us of the means of working so dear to Duchamp (as one can see in his accumulation of notes whilst preparing his large glass, to which his venue to England was decisive). This sound piece is broadcasted through loud speakers realised by M/M (Paris) & Gabriela Fridriksdottir, originally presented for Fridriksdottir’s exhibition during the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Elin Hansdottir in recreating her installation “Peripheral” replays an exhibition that originally took place in a former Telegraph-post- office in Berlin literally enlightens the exhibition.

Coming back to the Définition Méthode 307 (definition / Method DM) written by Claude Rutault for a group exhibition in London, the ruins are here the original assertion. The starting point for what is are the original ruins. A DM realised to be realised again. A moment of an exhibition, and a piece where a painting by Birgir Andrésson (Colour Proofs #2) becomes the original material for the piece by Rutault to exist. This painting becomes its own ruin within the ruin of an artwork among an accumulation of ruins. An artwork entering a moment of permanent pause, this painting becoming the ruin of itself (and paradoxically returning to its original state of a monochrome & quasi virgin canvas). Thus replaying the ruins of a past exhibition, transposed away from its original environment.

Gustav Metzger includes within the exhibition a spoken retrospective. Through his voice and through his words is presented the whole accumulation of his artistic career until now days, generating a mental exhibition in the mind of the one who hears it. Bribes of past elements dissolved that mostly do not exist any longer, (and have only been very briefly). An accumulation of moments of time, artworks & histories only existing through the voice, through the spoken word. A retrospective that only exist the time it takes to hear it within an exhibition. To quote Metzger, “Auto Destructive Art ends up with nothing, here we begin with nothing”. A spoken word retrospective begins with everything and produces nothing more, only everything.

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