Opening: Saturday 21 April 2018 - 20:00
Falling, lovely and beautiful
Falling, lovely and beautiful is a new set of works by the French-Morrocan artist Latifa Echakhch (1974, living in Martigny, Switzerland) presented in KIOSK. An installation involving bronze bells, a performative video and a series of drawings in ink. For these works, the objects or texts have been stripped of their original meanings and contexts in order to make new interpretations possible. This method is typical for Echakhch's art practice. Driven by the necessity to counter certain prejudices, contradictions and stereotypes in our society, she isolates and questions materials that are symbolic for these phenomena. By giving them a new setting or a different space, new meanings or unexpected characteristics may arise.
Eckakhch appropriates, dismantles and re-represents daily materials and simple objects. Personal memories as well as shared history and cultural heritage like literature, philosophy and music serve as her sources. Her practice repeatedly questions preset notions about identity, nationality, religion and authenticity. She also examines her own fragmented, symbolically charged culture, using a language that is at the same time sensitive and powerful. Politics and poetry come together in installations and environments built up out of personal, historical and cultural references.
All this applies to the exposition Falling, lovely and beautiful as well, with the title freely referring to the Nick Cave song As I sat sadly by her side.
The monumental shattered bronze bells under the central dome, are exact replicas of the church bells from the destroyed church Lübeck, a German city bombed in 1942. While the church is now fully restored, the bells are left lying exactly where they hit the ground at the time.
While the pieces of fallen bells emphasise silence in terms of stilled notes or muted violence, in the side room piano notes resound amidst huge noise. For this video, Echakhch simultaneously evokes an act of creation and destruction by making someone play the piano while, at the same time, someone else splits the instrument to pieces with a sledgehammer.
In a similar way, Echakhch's series of ink drawings deconstructs Arabic poetry. On sheets of newspaper she ‘transcribed’ the original texts, but only copying the punctuation or vowels. Traditionally and linguistically though in Arabic poetry, exactly these 'auxiliary signs' essentially define the meaning for the whole sentence or the poem. Here, the sheets of newspaper are largely left blank, the signs as mere unreadable connotations. The text, in other words, becomes an abstract drawing, bearing within it the possibility of a whole new reading.
The exhibition is realized with the support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
Opening: Friday 16 February 2018 - 20:00
Film maker and installation artist Nida Sinnokrot (1971, USA) presents a series of sculptural and cinematic installations in the KIOSK rooms. Some of the works on display are new, others were reinterpreted for this particular context, but all of them speak of the history, representation or political potential of ‘machines’, like photographic or cinematographic devices. Brought together in a single exhibition space under the title Exquisite Rotation, they will combine into a new, synchronized gesture.
The works in the show shed light on a different way of looking in which the linear time and fixed perspective that we associate with the traditional big screen, the photographic lens or the projection screen are disrupted. Sinnokrot aims to transcend the mechanisms of mass media such as photography and film, countering them with an array of new, critical narrative strategies. One of these is his recurrent attempt to capture several layers of implicit meaning in a single powerful, abstract image or poetic experience.
His camera functions as a tool to speak about his native country, displacement and the relation between technology and colonialism. In this sense, his desire to liberate the cinematic machine as we know it, is also an expression of his own hybrid identity. Sinnokrot is currently based in Jerusalem but, as the son of Palestinian parents, he spent his childhood in Algeria and moved to the United States as a teenager.
The exhibition is focused around a central installation in the dome room where moving images are projected horizontally instead of vertically, and the projection speed is determined by the interaction with the viewers. With each step, the film registers scratches, starting an irreversible process of deterioration. Sinnokrot describes this ‘horizontal cinema’ as a tool to address the material reality of violence and its mediation, manipulation and circulation: “This violence is reflected in the machine itself and the relationship between trauma and perception is materialized in its clash of technologies and systems. It’s cinema and war. It’s the experience of dispossessed and displaced peoples.”
The exhibition is organized within the framework of Under Construction Festival in Ghent and Ramallah.
Opening: Friday 1 December 2017 - 20:00
Fragments, Particles and the Mechanisms of Growth
Nazgol Ansarinia presents the exhibition Fragments, Particles and the Mechanisms of Growth at KIOSK. Through drawings, collages, sculptures, murals and works in textile, Iranian artist Nazgol Ansarinia draws a portrait of everyday life in her native city of Tehran, and of her own position within that context. She grows along with a city that now counts almost 14 million residents and whose face is rapidly changing. As capitalism’s sway over contemporary Iranian society grows ever more pervasive, there is housing shortage, the real estate market booms, houses make way for towering new apartment buildings and shopping malls, which results in a vicious paradoxical cycle of construction and deconstruction.
Each individual is a link in this process of ‘growth’ and is, like the city itself, subject to certain underlying codes and dynamics. It is the tension between her personal experience and public, regulated life in Tehran that always surfaces in Ansarinia’s work: “I have so many layers of memory from each corner of this city. Every part of this city is associated with memories from different stages in my life. I think that’s what makes this fast speed of construction so destructive in a way. It’s taking away our collective memory and individual memory with it. Neighbourhoods are changing so fast that they are unrecognizable. You feel lost when you can’t relate to a space.” (from “The Artist and their City”, The Guardian / Tate, 2016).
The artist turns a social system, an urban development or set of rules inside-out, dissects and interrogates them in order to reveal a collective consciousness or feeling in their reconstruction. In her exhibition at KIOSK, for instance, she films and analyses the demolition of a building in Tehran and incorporates the ‘traces’ of the process as video and sculpture. The video work Fragment 1, Demolishing buildings, buying waste registers how the building was torn down with shovel and pickaxe in 16 days. It is an attempt to capture the moment in between demolition and creation, and it illustrates the notion that for each new building there is an equal amount of material that is being shoved aside.
The rubble that is carried away in the video is symbolically reinstated as a new building brick at KIOSK. The rubble is laid open, sorted and reconstructed into new plaster and ceramic sculptures. Alongside these, the artist also presents a series of collages in which she weaves together articles on politics or economics from different Iranian newspapers into mosaics. The connecting thread that runs through all works in the show can be summed up with Ansarinia’s underlying thought that “I’m a deconstructionist who reconstructs the torn apart elements that show something new about something so banal that has gone unnoticed, so repetitive that it became part of routine life.” This is her way to get a handle on the innumerable mechanisms of growth that currently define this city, and to give them form.
Opening: Friday 22 September 2017 - 20:00
C O CO
Austrian artist Christoph Meier (1980, based in Vienna) conceived his show C O CO as a search for potential forms of interplay between his work, the visitor, and the KIOSK exhibition spaces. Inspired by the particular architecture and history of the location, Meier presents new architectural and social spaces based on a bamboo grid structure, new and existing sculptures and a video piece.
The exhibition is a further step in the collaboration between the artist and three institutions; C O CO was developed from C & O, the show Meier presented at Kunstverein Hamburg last year, and will in turn become the blueprint for another exhibition at Casino Luxembourg next year. For each successive location, the specific space is the basis on which new byroads temporarily cross.
Meier’s practice investigates the exhibition context as a space for social interaction, and the way in which it produces and presents contemporary art. He searches for intermediate forms that accentuate the space but also, simultaneously, question it. This often results in invasive or absurdist interventions that create a tension between the existing institutional space and the architectural and/or sculptural work that the artist confronts it with.
Against the dominant central dome room of KIOSK – a former anatomical auditorium – Meier positions a seemingly light, primitive structure that cannot be surveyed in a single glance and that is every bit as peculiar and theatrical as the surrounding architecture. Bamboo sticks ostentatiously take over the space. Sticking to a rigorously fixed modular structure, they uncompromisingly and repetitively penetrate the architecture – regardless of brick or glass. Interior and exterior become interconnected. The grid imposed upon the existing space restricts the visitor’s movements but it also expands the field of vision. It adds a new frame within which we can project an infinite number of imaginary spaces.
The sculptures surrounding the bamboo piece are made of found or repurposed materials that carry associations mainly of craft, industry and technology. The container-shapes of folded or perforated metal sheets waver between open and closed, unique and serial, distant and immersive, functional and dysfunctional, minimalist and complex. This game of opposites, repetition, performance and deconstruction keeps the objects in constant motion, refusing univocal interpretations. Meier hopes to see his ‘social forms’ uncouple from what they are to go on a search, together with the visitor, for what they might be. This makes them into a stage, a plinth or table; that is, carriers of meaning open to dialogue.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a monograph, a co-production with Kunstverein Hamburg and Casino Luxembourg, is published by Mousse Publishing. This publication will be presented at KIOSK, Thursday, October 12th.
The exhibition is realized in collaboration with Kunstverein Hamburg & Casino Luxembourgh - Forum d’art contemporain. With the support of Bundeskanzleramt Österreich. I