Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
“Right from the start, almost every appearance he made was catastrophic… Catastrophe is his means of operation, and his central instrument of governance.”—Adi Ophir
Violence, calamity and the absurdity of war are recorded extensively within The Archive of Modern Conflict, the largest photographic collection of its kind in the world. For their most recent work, Holy Bible, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin mined this archive with philosopher Adi Ophir’s central tenet in mind: that God reveals himself predominantly through catastrophe and that power structures within the Bible correlate with those within modern systems of governance.
The format of Broomberg and Chanarin’s illustrated Holy Bible mimics both the precise structure and the physical form of the King James Version. By allowing elements of the original text to guide their image selection, the artists explore themes of authorship, and the unspoken criteria used to determine acceptable evidence of conflict.
Inspired in part by the annotations and images Bertolt Brecht added to his own personal bible, Broomberg and Chanarin’s publication questions the clichés at play within the visual representation of conflict.
• 18 June 2013 • 2 notes
Published on Bloomsday 1963 (59 years after Leopold Bloom’s odyssey in 1904), “Bloom Zeitung” was a poster distributed throughout Frankfurt by Bazon Brock, Thomas Bayrle and Bernhard Jäger, somewhat on the model of Yves Klein’s “Dimanche.” One side reproduces the front and rear pages of the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung but with many of the headline words replaced by the word ‘Bloom.’ The reverse side of the poster reproduces in large scale the word ‘BLOOM.’
• 16 June 2013 • 5 notes
Some covers from Olympia Press’s “Traveller’s Companion” series
• 15 June 2013
No Medium, Craig Dworkin (2013)
In No Medium, Craig Dworkin looks at works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent, writing critically and substantively about works for which there would seem to be not only nothing to see but nothing to say. Examined closely, these ostensibly contentless works of art, literature, and music point to a new understanding of media and the limits of the artistic object.
Dworkin considers works predicated on blank sheets of paper, from a fictional collection of poems in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée to the actual publication of a ream of typing paper as a book of poetry; he compares Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing to the artist Nick Thurston’s erased copy of Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature (in which only Thurston’s marginalia were visible); and he scrutinizes the sexual politics of photographic representation and the implications of obscured or obliterated subjects of photographs. Reexamining the famous case of John Cage’s 4’33”, Dworkin links Cage’s composition to Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, Ken Friedman’s Zen for Record (and Nam June Paik’s Zen for Film), and other works, offering also a “guide to further listening” that surveys more than 100 scores and recordings of “silent” music.
Dworkin argues that we should understand media not as blank, base things but as social events, and that there is no medium, understood in isolation, but only and always a plurality of media: interpretive activities taking place in socially inscribed space.
• 10 June 2013 • 3 notes
William Burroughs, TIME, C Press, 1965
Time was published in 1965 in 1000 copies. 886 copies comprised the trade edition. These copies were unnumbered and unsigned. 100 copies were signed by Burroughs and Gysin. 10 copies numbered A-J were hard bound and contained a manuscript page of Burroughs and an original colored drawing by Gysin.
Burroughs created his own version of Time magazine, including a Time cover of November 30, 1962, collaged over by Burroughs with a reproduction of a drawing, four drawings by Gysin, and twenty-six pages of typescript comprised of cut up texts and various photographs serving as news items. One of the pages is from an article on Red China from Time of September 13, 1963, and is collaged with a columnal typescript and an irrelevant illustration from the ‘Modern Living’ section of the magazine. A full-page advertisement for Johns-Manville products is casually inserted amid all these text; its title: Filtering.” The “Fliday Newsmagazine,” “Proclaim Present Time Over,” “File Flicker Tape” are some of the texts. The November 30, 1962 issue of Time was chosen, because the magazine reviewed the Grove Press edition of Naked Lunch in an article entitled “King of the YADS” (Young American Disaffiliates). The looming face of Mao symbolizing the threat of Red China adds an aura of nuclear disaster.
Time is the fullest expression of Burroughs’ experimentation with the newspaper and magazine format that is part parody and part critique as well as an expression of a new format and form capable of expressing a greater truth than fiction or journalism separately. Time goes to the heart of Burroughs’ distrust of the mass media manipulation of image and news. Many think of Burroughs the visual artist as a flowering of his later years, but as his scrapbooks and pieces like Time attest, Burroughs delved into the visual arts early in his creative life. Elements of surrealism, the collage and assemblage art of Rauschenberg or Wallace Berman and his circle, Pop Art, and Mail Art are all present in Time. (via Reality Studio)
• 9 June 2013 • 1 note
Collective Dis/IIIusions: Jacques Villeglé and Gil J Wolman @ The Mayor Gallery
How is it possible not to identify the fragility of the skin in Jacques Villeglé’s “lacerated posters” and Gil J Wolman’s “scotch art”? With the help of adhesive tape, Wolman tears, from the printed surface of magazines and newspapers, paper shreds, similar to a discarded snake skin, that he lays onto the canvas. The snake shedding its skin like the transformation of the society of the French Glorious Thirty has not always been to Wolman’s liking. Indeed he regarded the functional re-planning of Paris and its suburbs, especially the building of council estates by Le Corbusier, as “oppressive forces”1 . On the contrary the monumental plans for the transformation of Paris had been a blessing for Villeglé; indeed, the damaged posters, “skin of the city”2, that covered the fences of buildings sites became Villegle’s raw material. His first production “Ach Alma Manetro”, a poster of over 2 and a half meters long was collected by him and his fellow artist Raymond Hains from a fence standing next to the restaurant La Coupole, in Montparnasse in 1949.
Impressed by the linguistic chaos provoked by the Lettrist poetry recitals, the Affichist Villeglé discovered the “megapneumes”, innovative poems based upon the breath by the Lettrist Wolman “From the first recital I went to, at the Cluny, end of September 1950,1 could distinguish (Wolman) as one of the best speakers as well as one of the most original creators in the entire group […] It was only in 1953 after mixing with him for several months that we became friends.”3 The two artists would remain close friends until the premature death of Wolman in 1995. Villegle is undoubtedly the most literary minded Affichist. This explains his fascination for the
typography presented in Wolman’s “scotch art”. The entangled compositions of adhesive bands on canvas express the dissolution of the information as well as the difficulty in the comprehension of political and social issues: May 68, the war in Vietnam, the sexual revolution. The visual and textual confusion of the “scotch art” can also be found in the series of works by Villegle that make use of a socio-political alphabet. Swastikas, Crosses of Lorraine, Stars of David, symbols of Anarchism are all employed in the rewriting of texts such as the “Deshonneur des poetes” (1945) by Benjamin Peret as well as in the transcription with correction fluid of quotes by writers and thinkers on school slates. Confronted by these visual and semantic elements, the viewer has to take an active part in the patient decoding of the signs. Going beyond simple provocation, Villegle gives his contemporaries food for thought: “I don’t awake hate more than I trivialise it. At most I shake up those who are half-asleep, refusing to accept history.”4
The innovative and artistic element of the Paris in the 1950-60s attracted a growing number of artists from all over Europe, Japan, North America and Latin America. The pooling of their ideas and knowledge allowed them to consider their artistic practice and skills as a collective activity, in which it was possible to consciously participate or not; such as the works developed by the Group of Visual Art Research (GRAV) when the participator produces the motion. This element of involvement is also adopted by Wolman, who does not believe in artistic genius5, when he offers to his readers instructions to create their own work of “scotch art”.
Take a clear adhesive tape
Apply on printed or manuscript paper
Take off all or part of the paper that could have
Fix to the white page
Send a photocopy to Wolman
For his part, Villegle developed in 1959 the concept of the “Lacere Anonyme”, a collective oeuvre created by unknown people Whilst wandering the streets of the damaged the posters that adorn it. Unconsciously these secret rippers have laid bare the ancient layers buried beneath of advertising display. The harmony of colours, the layout of the tears and the outburst of the typography caught the sharp of Villegle who became the courier of “the collective realities”. In his publication “Le Lacéré Anonyme”, Villeglé described his encounter with jubilation: “in order to have a fortunate encounter, the poster thief enjoys meandering the streets. Sometimes like the Malouin corsair, he can smell the catch long before seeing it.7”
The welll-known misappropriation by Wolman of photographs, illustrations and texts in order to maintain his “scotch art” challenges the laws of artistic authorship in many ways. In writing in 1956 “A User’s guide to detournement8”, with Guy Debord, Wolman has the opportunity to state and to denounce the various principles of misappropriation in our society. The “scotch art” is to be ranked as a minor mtsapropriation as it is, according to Wolman and Debord, “the misappropriation of an element which has no importance in itself and which thus draws all its meaning from the new context in which it has been placed. For example, a press clipping, a neutral phrase, a commonplace photograph.9” With the series of works “separations”, started in 1977, Wolman goes even further in cutting reproductions of the Mona Lisa and masterpieces by Picasso in half with the idea of introducting the “Wolman’s land”, a stolen space that pushes the original limits of the painting and its copy. With his “lacéré anonyme”, Villegle had been first seizing works conceived by unknown people and then went on to develop a unique theme of assimilation “The painting in the non-painting”. The first occasion being in 1965 with the appropriation of the name of the French painter Georges Mathieu and one of his posters designed for the ball of the Ecole polytechnique. Villegle would steal about fifteen of them and rearranged them under the title “From Mathieu to Mane”. This daring misappropriation provoked Mathieu’s anger and it almost got Villegle sued. The artist, born Jacques Mahe de la Villegle, explained his action: “Yes, Mahe, is my patronym, from Mathieu in Breton the synonym10”. Ten years later Villegle repeated the idea, this time with Dubuffet’s “Hourloupe”, a series of works that the latter began in 1962 and is characterised by a sinuous and spontaneous drawing line. Dubuffet was well-known for his temper, which is why Villegle wrote to him to get his consent before embarking on his new series. “The return of the Hourloupe” would finally take place. Villegle collected about forty ripped posters during his walks, all of them feature the publicity of Dubuffet’s exhibition11 that had so enthralled Villegle; an arid Castilian landscape with a central figure drawn with curves.
Wolman and Villegle have both favoured descriptive titles to accompany their works. The term “Untitled”, that denies the status of work of art, constitute the first component of the “scotch art” title. It is generally followed by a second element in parenthesis that refers to the textual or visual content on the canvas: (La revolution Russe), (Pin-up). For Villegle, the title as well as being descriptive, is a tool for memory and classification. Except “Ach Alma Manetro” (1949), whose title comes from the typography found on the ad, all his “lacerated posters” are accompanied by the name of the location of collection as well as by the date it took place: “Avenue de la Motte-Picquet”, 1er novembre 1961. From time to time a descriptive element is added. The information provided by the titles would allow anyone to trace year by year, borough by borough the artist’s movements through the city.
Marion Chanson, January 2013
• 30 May 2013
Printing out the Internet: ~~ In memory of Aaron Swartz ~~ LABOR, UbuWeb and Kenneth Goldsmith...
~~ In memory of Aaron Swartz ~~
LABOR, UbuWeb and Kenneth Goldsmith invite you to participate in the first-ever attempt to print out the entire internet.
The idea is simple: print out as much as of the web as you want — be it one sheet or a truckload — send it to Mexico City, and we’ll display it in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition, which runs from July 26 to August, 2013.
The process is entirely open: If it exists online and is printed out, it will be accepted. Every contributor will be listed as a participating artist in the show and will be listed on this Tumblr.
What you decide to print out is up to you — as long as it exists somewhere online, it’s in. We’re not looking for creative interpretations of the project. We don’t want objects. We just want shitloads of paper. We’re literally looking for folks to print out the entire internet. We have over 500 square meters of space to fill, with ceilings that are over 6 meters high.
There are many ways to go about this: you can act alone (print out your own blog, Gmail inbox or spam folder) or you could organize a group of friends to print out a particular corner of the internet, say, all of Wikipedia, the entire New York Times archive, every dossier leaked by Wikileaks for starters. The more the better.
Print out the internet. Post it to Mexico City.
Send your printouts to LABOR in Mexico City by July 15th:
Francisco Ramírez #5
Col. Daniel Garza
Del. Miguel Hidalgo 11830
At the conclusion of the show, the entire archive will be recycled. No materials can be returned.
~~ Information. Lots of it. And free to all. ~~
• 29 May 2013 • 22 notes