The Thirtieth Year

Mircea Cantor, Monica Bonvicini, Leandro Erlich, Gregor Hildebrandt, :mentalKLINIK, Mika Rottenberg

14 Sep - 25 Oct 2018

Installation view
Mircea Cantor, Monica Bonvicini, Leandro Erlich, Gregor Hildebrandt, :mentalKLINIK, Mika Rottenberg
14 September - 25 October 2018

Curated by_JÉRÔME SANS

This exhibition revolves around a collection of short stories (The Thirtieth Year, 1961) by Ingeborg Bachmann, an Austrian poet and a leading female protagonist of Viennese culture in the post-war years. If poetry is a way of engaging with the world through the message it conveys, in Bachmann, this engagement is also expressed by her opposition to all forms of ideology and wars, to the history of imperialism and fascism and its continuation under new guises. Bachmann’s cosmopolitan life in different European cities offered her an early understanding of borders, which she crossed or transcended throughout her own life. She also became an icon of woman’s liberation and embodied this contemporary phenomenon of nomadism, which is so typical of the lives of cultural actors in a globalized world.
Thus the utopian desire to reshape the world through a new language, to cross borders and social norms is a thread that runs through all the seven, organically linked novellas of The Thirtieth Year, making us, the reader, constantly shift from one reality to another.

In the same way as Bachmann’s collection, the exhibition unfolds around the imagined stories and writings by the artists themselves. Their projects are displayed all around the different rooms of Krinzinger Projekte, like in a family apartment in which one discovers the unique universe of each figure all of whom stem from different cultures and contexts.

This edition of Curated by_ marks the 10th year of this series of exhibitions. The Thirtieth Year jumps through time in order to pay tribute to the historical heritage of the city, which has become a veritable cultural hub of history – and to the eminent figure of the writer Ingeborg Bachmann whose poems have always offered inspiration to scores of artists. The exhibition implicitly sketches this fragility of the contemporary world under the sway if the idea of a collective history constantly being reinvented...

Jérôme Sans
(b. in 1960) is an independent curator, art critic and director of contemporary art institutions, he was the cofounder and former director of the acclaimed Palais de Tokyo in Paris until 2006. From 2006 to 2008 he was developing the BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead as the Director of Programming, later he became the director of the ground-breaking Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing (UCCA) and led it until 2012. He is currently the artistic director of one of the most important urban development projects in Europe, the Lyon Rives de Saône-River Movie, and co-founder of Perfect Crossovers ltd, a Beijing based cultural consultancy group. Between 2006 and 2013, Jérôme Sans was also the Global Cultural Curator for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts and from 2012 to 2014 the creative director and editor-in-chief of the French cultural magazine L’Officiel Art.

Jérôme Sans has curated over 300 solo and group shows worldwide, in art institutions and outside, among others: “Viennese Story” (1992), Wiener Secession, Vienna (with Douglas Gordon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Erwin Wurm, Chen Zhen, Eric Duyckaerts, Sam Samore, Wendy Jacob, Kendell Geers, Angela Bulloch, Rainer Ganahl...); “The Snowball” (1999) for the Danish Pavilion at the 48th Venice Biennale; “Pierre Huyghe, The Process of Leisure Time” (1999), Wiener Secession, Vienna; the Taipei Biennale “The Sky Is The Limit” (2000) at Taipei Fine Art Museum (with Candice Breitz, Loris Cecchini, Claude Closky, Meschac Gaba, Kendell Geers, Hsia Fei Chang, Shu Lee Chang, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Wang Du...); “Intermission” (2002) at the Pitti Foundation in Florence (Italy); “Jan Fabre, Save Your Soul” (2005), Maison Jean Vilar, during the Festival d'Avignon; “Restlessness” by Jan Lauwers at Bozar Brussels (2007);“That's fucking awesome” by mentalKlinik at Haskoy Yarn Factory (Istanbul) in 2011; “Le coup du fantôme” (2013) with Sun Yuan & Peng Yu in Lille (France).

:mentalKLINIK (Yasemin Baydar and Birol Demir)
(b. in 1972 and 1967 resp.) is an artist duo from Istanbul founded in 1998 and known for its reactionary form of an open laboratory to reinvent process, production, roles, conception and presentation. Resisting to the limitations of a single vocabulary or style, their world is a playful one full of hedonistic appeal which can be experienced as festive and glamorous but also surprising as one approaches to discover with a closer view an underlying violence suggestive of a bad trip after party or a creepy beginning of the end. Their works shift between emotional and robotic attitudes.

Some works begin by slicing or cutting whereby the artists introduce an element of danger, as a métaphore of art. Other works are emotionally charged with connotations set in direct contrast to other works completely devoid of human characteristics. Converting all pieces of present time into materials for their works of art, :mentalKLINIK points out to contemporary reality by means of sound, action, object, text and form. Reflecting upon our habits of consumption and production; the artist duo forces the limits of interdisciplinary working and questions the patterns and the modes of relation underlying these patterns.

The artists dislocate the materials already detached from everyday life and create a new aesthetic form that is awkward, alien and uncanny within the exhibition space forcing viewers to question their own material surroundings. Throughout their works they bring to light invisible politics and social dynamics that define our everyday lives.

:mentalKLINIK’s experimental approach has been praised on numerous occasions and include a
performative installation titled ‘FreshCut’ (MAK, Austrian Museum of applied Art, Vienna, Austria) and ‘Cooperation Would be Highly Appreciated’ Exhibition at SCAD Museum GA, USA. Among other collections, several works of :mentalKLINIK are in the collections of Istanbul Modern (Istanbul, Turkey) and Cleveland Clinic (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates).

Monica Bonvicini
(b. in 1965) she lives and works in Berlin. She studied art in Berlin and at CalArts, Valencia. Since 2003 she holds a position as Professor for Performative Arts and Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Beginning in October 2017 she assumes the professorship for sculpture at the Universität der Künste, Berlin.

Monica Bonvicini emerged as visual artist and started exhibiting internationally in the mid-1990s. Her multifaceted practice—which investigates the relationship between architecture, power, gender, space, surveillance and control—is translated into works that question the meaning of making art, the ambiguity of language, and the limits and possibilities attached to the ideal of freedom. Dry-humored, direct, and imbued with historical, political and social references, Bonvicini’s art never refrains from establishing a critical connection with the sites where it is exhibited, the materials that comprise it, and the roles of spectator and creator. This approach, which has been at the core of her production since her first solo exhibition at the California Institute of the Arts in 1991, has formally evolved over the years without betraying its analytical force and inclination to challenge the viewer’s perspective while taking hefty sideswipes at socio-cultural conventions

Bonvicini has earned several awards, including the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia (1999); the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst, from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (2005); and the Rolandpreis für Kunst for art in the public from the Foundation Bremen, Germany (2013). Her work has been featured in many prominent biennials, including Berlin (1998, 2004, 2014), La TriennaIe Paris (2012), Istanbul (2003, 2017), Gwangju (2006), New Orleans (2008), and Venice (1999, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2015).

Sculptures created by Bonvicini are now permanently installed in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London; the harbour at the Oslo Opera House, Norway; and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art.

Mircea Cantor
(b. in 1977) he is based in Paris. Best known for his evocative, metaphorical videos and mixed-media installations, Cantor makes work reflective of a broad worldview that is at once optimistic and trenchantly critical. In his works, he examines competing ideologies, war, displacement, the self and the other, and multivalence. Keenly aware of the multitude of meanings that a word or an object can contain, he deliberately mixes materials and uses language playfully, producing poignant, challenging works that defy neat categorization. He also refuses to be neatly defined, as he explains: “We know who we are, so why not go deeper? Let’s stand for something other than our nationality. [. . .] [My] objects speak of the great openness in which we can live today, beyond national categories.”

Cantor playfully combines materials, media and languages to produce pungent works where definitions and categories are constantly subverted. Suspended between profound formal and aesthetic research and their critical value, his works merge simple symbols and gestures to convey universal messages and propose parallel readings. With this seemingly contradictory approach of cynicism and playfulness, the artist digs into the depths of contemporary history, revealing its inner contradictions. “I think there’s a kind of obsession with the past, with what we have done. We should live in the present much more, in the now. One of these problems, for me: either we project ourselves in the future or we are nostalgic or too referential about the past. This is so specific to the art context today. When your work is so referential, literally, to the past; if it cannot stand alone, it doesn’t work» - Cantor says.

His language manipulates the different contexts of meaning, questioning boundaries, roles, and canons, and projecting the spectator into a dimension where the obvious is never taken for granted but has the power to change our perception of reality.

Cantor's work is included in The Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, USA), The Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, USA), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), The Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid
Spain), Abteiberg Museum (Mönchengladbach, Germany), Magasin III (Stockholm, Sweden), well as in other collections worldwide. He was awarded with the Ricard Prize in 2004; in 2011 he won Best Dance Short Film at the Tiburon International Film Festival with Tracking Happiness and received the Marcel Duchamp Prize.

Leandro Erlich
(b. in 1973) is an Argentina-based artist widely known for installations, which create environment with fluid and unstable boundaries. He creates unfamiliar interactive sites to question idea of space perception. Before one tries to make sense of his sculptures and installations, one feels the uncanny. A single change (up is down, inside is out) can be enough to upset the seemingly normal situation, collapsing and exposing our reality as counterfeit. Through this transgression of limits, the artist undermines certain absolutes and the institutions that reinforce them.

Leandro Erlich draws inspiration from his literary Argentinian forebear, Jorge Luis Borges, but references to the world of film also appear frequently in his work; Erlich admires directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, Luis Buñuel and David Lynch, whom, he argues, “have used the everyday as a stage for creating a fictional world obtained through the psychological subversion of everyday spaces.”

Between 1998 and 1999, Erlich took part in the Core Program, an artist residency at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and came to the attention of the art world at a young age. He gained international fame after his debut at the 2000 Whitney Biennial, followed by exhibitions in the 2001 and 2005 for Venice Biennials. Then he participated in the Biennials of Istanbul (2001), Shanghai (2002), Busan (2002) and São Paulo (2004) among other shows. In 2004 he became widely known in Japan for his permanent installation

Swimming Pool at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. Also he has participated in project based works at the 2006 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale with the creation of Tsumari's House. In 2012 Erlich made the monumental outdoor installation Monte-Meuble, l'Ultime Déménagement, in Nantes and in 2013 The Barbican commissioned him a new installation for the Dalston district of London.

Erlich's works are included in several private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, (Buenos Aires, Argentina), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, USA), Tate Modern (London, UK), Musée d'Art Moderne (Paris, France), The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan), MACRO (Rome, Italy), The Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel) and the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain (Paris, France).

Gregor Hildebrandt
(b. in 1974) is a Berlin-based conceptual artist, who transforms the near-obsolete relics of recording technology—like VHS, cassettes, and vinyl records—into sculptures, paintings, photographs and installations. To make his signature pieces, Hildebrandt applies tapes directly to the canvas, making impressions with them before finally adhering the cassettes themselves. He is also known to craft massive installations from these materials, including wall-sized “membranes” of extracted recording tape and galleries filled with old vinyl LPs that have been tackily remade into bowls.

Though his formal vocabulary draws on minimalist and found-object traditions, Hildebrandt is just as interested in the references to pop culture and nostalgia embedded in the lost recordings. “I really love that there’s something inside the material that you can’t hear,” he says. “And when you see it, you only see black. You can have your own interpretation of the materials and it does something for your experience.”

The so-called "non-colours": black, white and grey, dominate Hildebrandt's practice. This reduced palette sets a cool and demure tone from which to enter the artist's world. However, despite these often large-scale monochrome grounds, energy and emotion comes to the fore through Hildebrandt's titles. They transport the viewer into the realms of music, lyrics and film – and thus memories and associations forged between artist and viewer begin a process of animation.

Hildebrandt’s work is included among others into public collections of Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst des Bundes (Bonn, Germany), Sammlung Museum van Bommel van Dam (Venlo, Netherlands), Burger Collection (Hong Kong, China), Rubell Family Collection (Miami, USA), Collection Rosenblum Projects (Paris, France), Sammlung Südhausbau (München, Germany), The Margulies Collection (Miami, USA).

Mika Rottenberg
(b. in 1976) she lives and works in New York. She is known for her ability to highlight themes such as the inequalities of our global economy and the fragility of the human body, spun through a lens of humour, absurdity and confusion. She juxtaposes the vulnerabilities and strengths of her protagonists within uncanny interpretations of our physical world.

Rottenberg’s elaborate visual narratives draw on cinematic and sculptural traditions to forge a new language that uses cause and effect structures to explore labour and globalisation, economy and production of value, and how our own affective relationships are increasingly monetised. The artist explains that through film, architectural installation and sculpture, she “designs systems with their own subjective logic, precarious systems that are constantly on the verge of collapsing, both logically and physically, but somehow are able to hold themselves together through this motion of perpetual movement and growth, until they also pop...”

Inspired by her first encounters with infomercials after moving to New York as a teenager, as well as the idea of “finding little solutions for things that are not necessarily a problem,” her characters engage in absurd acts of labour involving Rube Goldberg-like assembly line contraptions, milking hair to make cheese or grinding acrylic fingernails into maraschino cherries—often exerting much more effort along the way than the final product is worth.

“Part of it is trying to find my own position, trying to place myself within these big systems,” she says, “I’m inserting my own internal, psychological space within this external social space. [...] If art has a power, it’s the power of making things visible,” Rottenberg claims.

Rottenberg’s work is represented in numerous major museum and public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA), Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Canada), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, USA), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, USA) and Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Rose Art Museum (Waltham, USA).

Tags: Rainer Fetting