Micheline Szwajcer

Anne Daems

17 Mar - 22 Apr 2006


To prevent scratches on the wooden floor, the couch was put on four different towels to drag it to the other end of the room
Anne Daems invites: Dara Birnbaum / Harrel Fletcher / Dan Graham / Miranda July / Gabriel Lester / Dominque Petitgand / Jeff Preiss / Lily van der Stokker
Anne Daems records the specifities, significance and identifiable features of the everyday. Her drawings - a result of observations and personal experiences - are more a point of view than actual drawings. Her photographs show actions that barely register, events that may at first sight seem insignificant, as if there were no real reason for the image to exist. But the snapshot appearance of these photos hides considerable sophistication. Daems has a way of gathering all the different details of her subject (often a person) that reveals it or its whole microcosm. Nothing is important but nothing is left out.
In the exhibition at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, from 16th of March till 22nd of April, Anne Daems combines new work recently made in New York City with a group of works she responded to there, producing a record of observation made during her one year stay.
The works by other artist selected share her particular focus on daily life, reveal a subtle sense of humor and articulate to varying degrees critiques on contemporary reality.
In each case she is responding to ideas realized by modest production, unburdened by the necessity of a plastic result.
For 72 girls (and some boys) that could be a model (2006) Anne Daems photographed randomly sighted girls/boys based on the degree to which their appearance resonated with the simple criteria of "looking like a model". The result is a series of subjects, attractive but particular and imperfect, exemplifying the atmosphere of New York where attractiveness is integrated into the culture on various social and professional strata. It mimics the false documentary style of editorial fashion photography by recording the documentary event in earnest and amplifies the radiance experienced during the covert event of the photography. Aside from the slideshow Anne Daems will show new drawings and pictures (2005-2006).
Dara Birnbaum manipulates off-air imagery from the TV game show Hollywood Squares in Kiss The Girls: Make Them Cry (1979), a bold deconstruction of the gestures of sexual representation in pop cultural imagery and music. Minor celebrities (who Birnbaum calls "iconic women and receding men") confined in a flashing tic-tac-toe board greet millions of TV viewers, animating themselves as they say "hello." Linking TV and Top 40, Birnbaum spells out the lyrics to disco songs ("Georgie Porgie puddin' and pie/kissed the girls and made them cry") with on-screen text, as the sound provides originally scored jazz interpolation and a harsh new wave coda.
In the video Blot Out The Sun (2002), a garage in central Portland, Oregon is the setting for Harrell Fletcher's conceptual re-working of James Joyce's Ulysses. The garage owner, Jay, mechanics and neighbourhood denizens serve as narrators, reading lines from the novel that focus on death, love, social inequality and the relationship between individuals and the universe.
Learning to Love You More is both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. Participants accept an assignment, complete it by following the simple but specific instructions, send in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc) and see their work posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments is intended to guide people towards their own experience. Since LTLYM inception in 2002 over 2000 people have participated in the project.
Lax/relax is a performance Dan Graham did in '69. During Performa, he recently redid the performance in the foreplay of the punk-rock band Japanther. During the performance Dan Graham interacts with a recorded female voice that repeats the word 'Lax' in a slow, sensual way. He says 'relax' each time she says 'lax'. The work was dedicated to Dean Martin. "People said that he was lax, which was considered negative in the 60's, while everybody in America wanted to relax."
For Piano Pay-Off Gabriel Lester collaborated with the New York Public Library/ Lincoln Public Center to research the silent movie scores and compositions archive. Together with piano player Adonis Gonzales, Gabriel Lester recorded twenty-one soundtrack compositions, written between 1899 and 1929. Compositions with such titles as "Music for Riots and Fights" indicate that the soundtrack is in fact written for certain (possible) scenes in a film and not for one single, specific film alone. Sixteen of these recordings are compiled on a CD. Since the selection of silent movie soundtracks - and for that matter, the whole area of musical composition for silent movies - seems to have been lost, discarded or forgotten, the CD has become a rare attempt to document some of the very rich and creative musical (and visual) compositions of the twentieth century.
Dominique Petitgand creates sound pieces in which the montage of voices, silence, noise and music produces a series of micro-universes that hover between reality (recordings of people talking about their lives) and immersions in dream-like fictions free of context or time. Aloof (2005) is a sound piece with 2 voices: a little girl is doing different sounds with her voice (an unknown language between shouting, singing or breathing), while a man is trying to translate (in English) what she seems to say (according to him).
Jeff Preiss' Camera rolls 1816-1937, Orchard Document, with May I Help You: performance and text: Andrea Fraser, (2005 - 2006), uses documentation of Andrea Fraser reconfigured performance of May I help you, 1991 (produced as the premier event of ORCHARD, an experimental gallery collective on Manhattan's Lower East Side) as an armature to investigate the mechanics of chronology and the ambiguity of image sound synchronization. Jeff Preiss is an independent filmmaker whose serial project distilled from a daily practise of 16mm cinematography is in its 11th year. He is a founding member of ORCHARD where he both exhibits and uses as a base of production.
"I like Anneke. But I like Myriam too." is written on the wall next to two painted blocks. The work is called Two I like pieces (2002) from Lily Van der Stokker..
"Her wall paintings are quite unique. They are unabashedly decorative and full of color, and are always accompanied by surprisingly banal, hand-written exclamations and remarks. Cynicism and irony however are not her intention. Van Der Stokker really just wants to work in a 'cheerful and friendly' way, to feel wonderful, to be 'cosy at home', and to feel pity about 'good old abstract art'. Her work is often described as recalcitrant and provoking or "artistically incorrect'". (Paula Van den Bosch)

© Anne Daems
"To prevent scratches on the wooden floor, the couch was put on four different towels to drag it to the other end of the room", 2005-2006
drawing on paper
without frame: 30 x 22,5 cm
framed: 45 x 32,5 cm

Tags: Dara Birnbaum, Anne Daems, Harrell Fletcher, Andrea Fraser, Dan Graham, Miranda July, Gabriël Lester, Dominique Petitgand, Lily van der Stokker