Gabrielle Maubrie

Essential Works

12 Sep - 31 Oct 2009

© Gordon Matta-Clark
Office baroque

September 12 - October 31, 2009

DENNIS ADAMS « AIRBORNE » 2002, born in 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.

Searching the skies over lower Manhattan since 9/11, Adams has photographed newspapers and plastic bags that he found floating over the city. This lightweight debris becomes airborne from gusts and updrafts generated by traffic, architecture and weather conditions of the city. Suspended in the atmospheric light of changing skies, Adams has captured these isolated urban fragments as potential signs of both memory and prophesy.
Dennis Adams was born in 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa. He is internationally recognized for his public interventions and museum installations that address the processes of collective memory and social control in the design and use of architecture and public space. He has produced public projects in Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States. His work has been the subject of over 50 one-person exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout North America and Europe. In 1994, two separate retrospectives of his work were held at the Museum van Hedengdaagse Kunst Antwerpen and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.

WALID RAAD « Scratching on things I could disavow », 1989/ born in Chbanieh, Lebanon

Walid Raad was born in 1967 in Chbanieh, Lebanon. He lives and works in New York. To date, Walid Raad’s works include The Atlas Group (1989-2004), a project about the history of the Lebanese wars of the pas three decades, and Scratching on things I could disavow, a project about the history of the Arab world.
« Over the past ten years, and throughout the Arab world i have witnessed the emergence of a new infrastructure for the visual arts. In 2008, I initiated a research project about the history of contemporary and modern art in the Arab world. This project considers how culture and tradition in the Arab world may have been affected and materially and immaterially by the various wars that have been waged there by native and external powers.

ANDRÉ CADERE, born in Warsaw, Poland in 1934, died in Paris in 1978

André Cadere was born in Poland and grew up in Roumania and, before his early death in 1978, was a nomadic presence in the European art world. Cadere questioned the traditonal boundaries between painting and sculpture by developing a series of wooden bars which can be positioned in varying relations to their surroundings : leaning against the wall, lying on the floor or suspended from wall fixings. He often carried these bars around, even sometimes bringing them – uninvited – into exhibitions of fellow artists. The striped pattern of each of Cadere’s bars follows an idiosycratic mathematical sequence. However, each also contains a deliberate anomally, which makes it harder to decipher the system’s underlying rationale.
Because his objects were ostensibly polite, it remains even more compelling just how challenging his pratice was as a whole. Cadere was one of the first artists to realize that objects were inseparable from market and institutional contexts : half of his focus was on the systems of distribution in the art world.

PATTY CHANG “ Falling”, born in 1972 in San Leandro, California, U.S.A.

« Looking at your own reflection is an act of seducing yourself », proclaims Patty Chang, who has made a career of such self-reflection. The artist documents her own performances with deliberate endurance, relentlessly probing issues of identity both through her events and by capturing them on film. When she takes the position of a Chinese contortionist for hours on end, the agonizing pose lives on in photographs as does its revelation as a trick with mirrors. Chang’s endless sipping of a reflective pool of water (until she literally swallowed her own image) is similarly caught on looping video.
For Chang, each theatrical act is finite « The performance is no longer when it is photographed or shot on video. It retains a performance element, but is now another generation removed : it becomes an intentional digression . The performative element is a basis of so much work today that I think it is almost impossible to escape. Performance will always be relevant in the different ways that it informs all other mediums of art, if it suffers from its own transcient beauty ».

KRZYSZTOF WODICZKO « Porte-Parole », 1993-1994 (mouthpiece)
Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1943

The porte-parole (mouthpiece) is an apparatus intended for immigrants. It covers the mouth of the one wearing it like a muzzle. A small video monitor and loudspeakers are installed in the center of the instrument and in front of the mouth of the user. The monitor and the loudspeakers replace the true act of speech by a audio-visual program where ravel in a discontinuous way of the declarations, the questionings and the preregistered accounts, electronically assembled and easy of access. For a immigrant deprived of speach, living in a situation culturally, politically and morally abnormal, it is almost natural to wear an equipment for speach, artificial and artistically designed. In the actual time of migration, the carrier of the porte-parole seems to be a storyteller of prophetic stories and a poetic disrupteur of the continuity of the life established in public space and dominant culture. Equipped to be able to speak better than others which have still to overcome the deprivation of word in their meetings with foreigners, this foreigner-porte-parole becomes an expert and a virtuoso in the technology and the art of speech.

MARK LOMBARDI “Nugan Hand LTD, Sydney, Australia”, 1998
Born in 1951 in Syracuse, New York, died in 2000

Nugan Hand Limited of Sydney : Bank officials helped wealthy Australians evade taxes by shipping their assets to Hong Kong and Singapore ; devised a plan for concealing their personal fortunes of regional allies like the Shah of Iran and Sultan of Brunei ; and tried to broker prohibited arms into embargoed zones like South Africa and white colonial Rhodesia.

For the last two years of his life Smithson sought to use his art as a resource that would mediate between ecology and industry. He contacted many land mining corporations, offering his services as an artist-consultant for land reclamation. He wished to make art out of the decay of discarded land at such sites, thereby restoring art to an everyday function within society. Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971) was built in Emmen, Holland, on a reclaimed quarry. Broken Circle is formed by two semi-circles which are mirrored or doubled - half on land, half on water, half jetty, half canal. In the center is an ancient boulder which could not be moved and formed an "accidental" center, disrupting the dialectic that Smithson had established between the broken circle and the hill. Yet despite this interruption, the two forms constantly refer and relate back to one another: one structure is surrounded by water, the other by land; while the Broken Circle is flat, the Spiral Hill is three-dimensional, its counterclockwise spiral (white sand on black topsoil) again a symbol for destruction. This work, originally commissioned as a temporary outdoor installation, proved so popular with the people of Emmen that they voted to preserve it as a park.

GORDON MATTA-CLARK/ 1943-1978/ « Office Baroque » 1977
Born in New York in 1943, died in 1978

The american artist Gordon Matta-Clark, educated as an architect, uses the urban environment and mostly buildings as his material. He remakes the empty buildings cutting up fragments. By his approach, he transforms the architecture into sculptures, he shows the soul of a building: to convert a place in a state of mind.
In 1977, Matta-Clark was invited by Flor Bex for an exhibit in Antwerpen. He had the opportunity to rework the empty building, in honor of the 400 year birthday of the baroque painter from Antwerpen Rubens, the artist called the work “Office Baroque”.
Soon after his death in 1978, Flor Bex proposed the keep Office Baroque as a homage to the artist and to integrate as a new museum of modern art that was going to be built in front of the building. The idea was welcomed with enthusiasm and the Gordon Matta-Clark Foundation raised the money. Many artists from the country and abroad gave works to raise the money. But unfortunately Office Baroque the only work of architecture-sculpture of Gordon Matta-Clark that was still subsist after his death, was destroyed, just before it was supposed to be signed.
The only testimony today are the photo works.

ERNEST T. born in 1943 in Mons, Belgium

Ernest T. is a troublemaker. Hidden behind his assumed name is an artist who has unfailingly lambasted the behavior of his contemporaries in the art world over the last twenty years, deliberately standing back and observing how artists, critics and collectors are perceived by the public at large, and so providing a truly unique historical and sociological commentary. All aspects of art and artists are reflected in the mirror of his work : careerism and speculation, experts and apologists, originality and the avant-garde, morality and scandal...Ernest T’s better know works include Useless Paintings (Peintures Nulles) based on cartoon illustrations plus his many caustic slogans. Also drawings in the style of Rembrandt or Picabia, fake Bruegel, Mondrian or Douanier Rousseau paintings, numerous pamplets, letters, privately published works, logos, reviews, collages... faithfully reproduced with no other words than those of Ernest T. himself.

NELSON LEIRNER, “Mapas” 2009, born in 1932 in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The essential spirit that inspires the work of Nelson Leirner is here: strong political conscience, taken in consideration the political stakes and the refusal of know-how, but also humor and antidogmatisme. It is easy to imagine how those qualitie

Tags: Dennis Adams, André Cadere, Patty Chang, The Atlas Group, Nelson Leirner, Mark Lombardi, Gordon Matta-Clark, Piet Mondrian, Walid Raad, Krzysztof Wodiczko