Migros Museum

Collection Part I

24 Feb - 27 May 2007

Collection Part I
migros museum für gegenwartskunst
24th February – 27th May 2007

Anne-Lise Coste – Daniel Buetti – Delia Gonzales & David Russom – Christian Marclay – Katharina Sieverding – Mika Taanila

The collection presentation, divided into two stages, forms the prelude to a series of exhibitions, in which works from the migros museum für gegenwartskunst’s collection are brought together from various standpoints in the present year. The current emphasis of the concept is to integrate the collection, which connects contemporary art production, to a live environment. Quite particularly the emphasis is on taking into consideration exhibitions which originated in the migros museum für gegenwartskunst. The presentation links essentially new purchases, dedicated to sub and pop-culture themes, as well as taking up the commensurate aesthetic. At the centre lies the content-oriented debate, wrestling with music and formal aesthetic quotes of pop or subculture and their influences on contemporary art production.

In her drawings Anne-Lise Coste (*1973) works in a journal-like style referring to everyday impressions and perceptions of daily external events, but also those of her own life. In so doing Coste implements various strategies – deploying popular political statements, word games, sketches or the adoption of an apparently childlike drawing style and the technology of sampling. The 32 part series Untitled (2002) refers to current political and societal developments of 2001, in particular to the American Presidential election and the attacks of 11th September which bore significant influence on the sense of national security in the USA and Europe.

In their works the American artist duo Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom concern themselves with modernist architecture and the concept of sculpture as well as electronic music – both are active in the same formation as musicians. No Way Back (2006) is a space filling sculpture which suggests to the observer a pastiche of various architectonic forms. Thus in its simple forms and surfaces the landscapes of columns on the one hand, recalls Greek temple architecture and on the other, modernist architecture and its historical application. Built into some of the wooden stele, covered with black gloss or marble imitations, are self made synthesisers, which play back repetitive monotone compositions. The transformation of the mood evoked by architecture through minimal electronic music gives the setting the character of a ritual site.

Daniele Buetti (*1956) constantly deals with glamorous surfaces and their deconstruction. He makes his own, the aesthetic of the promising images and symbol worlds of fashion and the seductive appearance of advertising and glossy magazines. Kummerbox 3000 (2004) is a dazzling curtain reaching down to the floor of blue and violet tinsel strands, which separate a square room. It can be circumvented by the spectator but also entered. The “tinsel wall” attached to tracks on the ceiling turns, driven by an electronic motor, slowly in a circle. Appearing illusory and glamorous from a distance, the room breaks down from a closer view into continually moving individual parts. The gloss dissolves into more simple materials and leaves behind a peeling sensation of demystification and a latent sense of unease.

In his installations and sculpture Christian Marclay (*1955) uses materials which emanate from the music world – manipulated music instruments, tape recorders or record covers. The two works Ein Heldenleben (1992) and With my Lovin? (1991) are part of a series of plastic works, collages created from various record covers. By joining together a variety of record covers, pertaining both to high as well as low music, he renders humoresque, hybrid assemblages. Ein Heldenleben is two different records put together. The first cover is of a record by Herbert von Karajan of a performance of Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben. Here the famous conductor is prominently illustrated. On the second record, which is obviously pop music, are merely two women’s legs in clear provocation. Put together the two covers yield one body. The work With my Lovin? (1991) similarly displays a fragmented body, made from various record covers featuring illustrations of body parts.

The filmic works - shot on 35mm film - of Mika Taanila (*1965) hover at the interface between art and documentary. One of the central themes he concerns himself with is the history and visuality of experimental music. Optical Sound (2005) is an attempt to transform an experimental composition into the visual. Taanila here operates within the tradition of Walter Ruttmann and Viktor Eggeling, who achieved abstract filmic transformations of music at the beginning of the 1920s. The film is based on the composition The Symphony # 2 For 12 Dot Matrix Printers by the Canadian music duo The User (Thomas McIntosh und Emmanuel Madan). The major role is taken on by the long since superseded type of computer printer for which the composition was made. Sequences of music recordings are combined with images of the city at night – office buildings, where people are still working and the rear lights of cars which writhe through dark streets. The old dot matrix printers produce a rhythm with their printing noise which is merged with a complete sound characteristic created via minimal electronic data conversion.

Katharina Sieverding (*1944), known for her large format photography discovered the medium for herself in the 1970s, and made it her primary expressive means, contrary to the conception at that time that photography was purely a means serving for the documentation of performances or actions. The Great White Way Goes Black (1977) is a self portrait of the artist, standing in front of a dark, undefined background. The photograph was taken during the night from the 13th to the 14th July 1977 in New York when the city was without electricity for 25 hours and plunged into absolutely exceptional circumstances and unrest. In those hours New York was a place of the most various forms of border transgressing, racist rioting, police raging against African Americans, but also of carnivalesque and improvised parties. The title of the work refers; on the one hand, to the name the American Indian gave to Broadway, but also to the way of the white majority society of the USA. The chaotic hours enable dramatic events and unrest, but also to the creation of spontaneous unanticipated glamour. This moment, oscillating between the staged and spontaneous photograph of the occasion, was fixed, in a monumental portrait of the observing artist.

Tags: Daniele Buetti, Anne-Lise Coste, Delia Gonzalez, Christian Marclay, Gavin Russom, Katharina Sieverding