GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst

One Fine Morning in May...

30 May - 08 Aug 2010

Sebastian Gräfe
Fight the Power, 2010
DVD, 11 min., sound
Courtesy Galerie Lena Brüning, Berlin
Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Walead Beshty, Juliette Blightman, Carol Bove, Liudvikas Buklys, André Cadere, Cyprien Gaillard, Sebastian Gräfe, Wade Guyton, Gareth Moore, David Sherry, Fiete Stolte and Guido van der Werve

Restrictions, mistakes, crises, antclimax let alone failures – all these terms run contrary to our time so directed at success and productivity and, in our societal contexts, unequivocally burdened with negativity. Economic crisis and recession wherever one looks. Expectations have to be fulfilled, whether of oneself or of others. In no time at all, non-fulfilment smacks of failure or break down. A remedy seems only to be achieved via complete withdrawal or cynicism .

But what if the knowledge of restrictions, erroneousness and pre-programmed failure becomes a productive impetus? In the field of cultural production this phenomenon is to be continually observed – where one always strives to undermine the expectations raised and as a result restricted. This has been already described in Balzac’s short story Unknown Masterpiece of the decade-long and finally hopeless wrestling of the artist Frenhofer with the ideal portrait of a woman. But what if art takes a step further and in complete awareness of such impossibility ventures, in Sisyphean manner, to persist right down the path accomplishing that which would commonly be regarded as ultimate failure? What if when the mistakes and limitations of a medium, a material or subject matter are not only accepted but consciously incorporated into the creative process and thus implemented positively?

The group exhibition One fine morning in May... brings together international artists’ positions for which mistakes and failure constitute the impetus for their cultural production. The title given is taken from the character Joseph Grand in Camus’ novel La Peste, a minor city employee who is driven by the fixed idea to write the perfect novel, but fails at the first sentence (one of his many attempts is: “One fine morning in May, an elegant woman was riding a magnificent sorrel mare through the flowered avenues of the Bois de Boulogne“).

The exhibition’s starting point are three work of 1970s Concept Art by Bas Jan Ader (I’m too sad to tell you), John Baldessari (Teaching a Plant the Alphabet) and André Cadere (Barre de bois ronds). In the exhibition context they act as an historical reference and noting of an artistic attitude which gives lasting new interpretations to failures and mistakenness in its long term ongoing definition.
The major focus of the presentation rests on the generation of artists that have been born since the 1970s who by means of installations, painting, photography, film, objects and performances of today further the thoughts of their predecessors and attain their own ways of moving forward. Accordingly Wade Guyton uses the limited possibilities of an inkjet printer to print “art alien” screens with computer drawn compositions of form provoking mistakes in the production process and in this manner, with the help of a serial procedure create painterly unique specimens. Luidvikas Byklus presents paintings without history (which his father bought on the black market in Vilnius, at the time of the breakdown of the Soviet Union and nothing is known about their author) that are still to be found in their transport packaging. In so doing he evokes a poetic discussion on failed political utopias and the authorship of artistic work. Failed utopias of modernism are also treated in Cyprien Gaillard’s projection Pruitt-Igoe Falls. Showing the exploding of a modernist socialist building actually evokes empathy for the unloved architecture and calls into question how we treat our built up areas. Fiete Stolte addresses the received limitation of the normative 7 weekdays each of 24 hours and lives in a rhythm of 8 days a week each day of 21 hours. His works let the two ways of dealing with time collide. Walead Beshty builds Perspex cubes the size of FedEx transport boxes and sends them on journeys with the above named carrier – the final work is made up of the fine lines etched over their surfaces caused by the damage incurred in transit. Sebastian Gräfe fights a hopeless street fight against the stormy sea and discovers, amongst other things, Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest to be a Great Misunderstanding. Quite in the tradition of Bas Jan Ader Guido van der Werve initially has five ballerinas knocked down after which they carry out a dance of death. Carol Bove combines found rusted pieces of tin with minimalist plinths in a way linking Chamberlain with Brancusi and Minimal Art and also posing, in terms of a Meditation on Violence, the question of guilt of societal and artistic utopias. And Gareth Moore, Juliette Blightman and David Sherry are developing new for works for the GAK exhibition.

One fine morning in May... also marks the celebration of thirty years of GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst.

Tags: Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Walead Beshty, Juliette Blightman, Carol Bove, Liudvikas Buklys, André Cadere, Cyprien Gaillard, Sebastian Gräfe, Wade Guyton, Gareth Moore, Fiete Stolte, Guido van der Werve