OBJECTIF EXHIBITIONS (vzw) is a not-for-profit institution trafficking diverse contemporary artistic practices into and out of Antwerp, Belgium. We open our doors to both curious enthusiasts and specialists. We also exit those doors, from time to time, to present exhibitions in other contexts and dimensions.
Uniformly, everything at Objectif Exhibitions or organized under its imprint is referred to as an exhibition—presented at differing scales, along differing temporal structures, and with correspondingly different billings.
The Flemish Community
EU Culture 2007–2013
Director: Chris Fitzpatrick
Production Assistant: Marnie Slater
Administration/Translation: Judith Lindekens
Graphic Design: Goda Budvytyte
Website Programming: Mindaugas Uba
Anne Judong: Curator, Bozar, Brussels
Nicolaus Schafhausen: Artistic Director, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
Win Van den Abbeele: President of the Board, Co-founder, and former Director of Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp
Steve van den Bosch: Artist, Antwerp
Frederique Bergholtz: Director, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution, Amsterdam
Chris Evans: Artist, London
Anthony Huberman: Director, Artist’s Institute, New York
Gabriel Kuri: Artist, Brussels
Sophie Nys: Artist, Brussels
Leon Vranken: Artist, Antwerp
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Wednesday to Saturday, 2–6pm
Closed on public holidays
From Centraal station, take tram 2 or 15 to Groenplaats, turn left on the Nationalestraat, take the second left onto Kammenstraat and we are down the street (next door to Cafe Berlin). Walk down the hallway into the courtyard.
From Berchem station, take tram 8 to Mechelseplein, walk along Vleminckveld until it ends at Kleine Markt. We are on your right.
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25 May—6 July, 2013 Angie Keefer Who's there? Saturday 25 May, 6–8pm
Why bother?, 2013
16mm film, color, no sound
edition of 6
Angie Keefer (b. 1977, Huntsville, Alabama; Lives in Hudson, New York) graduated from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (1999). As an artist, writer, amateur engineer and occasional librarian, Keefer’s speculative non-fiction traces circuitous routes through specialized information. She has recently exhibited, staged, taught, or otherwise produced at Office for Contemporary Art (OCA), Norway (2013); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2013); Yale Union, Portland (2013); São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2012); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); The Banff Centre, Canada (2012, 2011); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2012); Artists Space, New York (2011-12); and Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius (2011); among others. In 2010, Keefer co-founded The Serving Library, a not-for-profit artists’ organization dedicated to publishing and archiving in a continuous loop, and is co-editor of The Serving Library’s bi-annual publication, The Bulletins.
This exhibition will be viewable in alternate states during normal hours, from 2-6pm Wednesday through Saturday, and during extended hours, from 6-10pm Wednesday through Saturday. Spanning six-weeks, this is the first of three iterations, which will extend into 2014.
25 May—6 July, 2013 Antanas Gerlikas Waif Shadow Saturday 25 May, 6–8pm
A palm tree, an eye, and the elongated reiteration of that tree—even without a pen, don’t the abstractive properties of a shadow offer interesting dysmorphic representations? Part of the point is the line’s different in reverse. If this drawing by Antanas Gerlikas is read as a glyph, then perhaps its author asks us to push our shadows into less symetrically palindromic dimensions, and see them not as doubled trails, but unique contorted spaces.
In any case, Palm Tree will not be on display in Waif Shadow. Or, it will be—not as itself, but through a sinuous re-articulation. Rope. Absent, the drawing is not reduced to a study; it already served as an alternate means of communication, as a non-verbal explanation, a conceptual lasso, and an esoteric diagrammatic floorplan for Gerlikas’ solo exhibition in the basement of Objectif Exhibitions.
A signature is a trace of singular presence, an agreement of terms—contractual glue—but if it has a shape, does its perimeter also outline a space? Dogs faithfully trail their owners, and play fetch with enthusiasm, but if a stick can also provide a measurement of movement independent of the dog, can it be something other than a stick? Such questions arise through Gerlikas’ transmutation of forms, images, ideas, and even V-shaped dreams into text, into sound, into two- or three-dimensions. He dots the basement with conundrums, and they take time to crack. Yet the parenthetical space between two versions of the same video offers a clue: a grouping of anonymous heads obstructs an exterior view of earth and displaces the sun by disrupting its implied location. The earth doesn’t rotate, but the alien presences of its dislocated receivers eviscerate the earth’s form incessantly through a proximal, luminescent, and temporal overlay.
They are shadows, not shadowed.
Antanas Gerlikas (b. 1978, Plungė, Lithuania; Lives in Vilnius) graduated from Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts (2007). His work has most recently been presented in group exhibitions at ART IST KUKU NU UT, Galerii Noorus, Tartu (2012); The Gardens, Vilnius (2012); HIAP, Helsinki (2012); Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius (2012); and Frutta, Rome (2012). His dreams have been disseminated from the Lithuanian Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013); and his videos have travelled to more than 30 international venues through PROJECT 35 VOLUME 2.
24 May, 2013— Post Brothers Post Office (With AIR Antwerpen)
Pathologically productive, Post Brothers is a spasm—Bataille’s “accursed share” personified. Like any good cartoon, Post Brothers appears to operate outside the laws of physics. Like a machine, he foregoes exhaustion and goes well beyond what’s seemly, expected, or even seemingly useful.
Post Brothers: “a critical enterprise that includes Matthew Post.” Indeed, he is enterprising, but in an anti-entrepreneurial way. For one thing, he writes (generously). Give him a word count of 2,000 characters and 20,000 words appear. Yet “writer” is too limiting. Post Brothers threads disciplinary fringes—artist, curator, critic, collaborator, collector, crackpot academic—to question, exaggerate, and deconstruct forms of knowledge construction and circulation, even to the point of collapse (ours, his, both).
Based in a decommissioned freight elevator in Oakland, California, but working internationally, Post Brothers is an increasingly peripatetic character. Accordingly, Post Brothers will spend this summer transforming the decommissioned elevator in our basement storage space into Post Office—a European outpost, a permanent work, a static vehicle for circulating ideas, and one of the many results to come from his three-month residency at AIR Antwerpen.
Post Brothers (b. 1984, Los Angeles; lives in Oakland, California) is a critical enterprise that includes Matthew Post—an independent curator and writer often working from an elevator in Oakland, California. Post Brothers received an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2009); and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute, Vancouver (2006). He is currently in residence at AIR Antwerpen, and was a resident at CCA Ujazdowski Castle A-I-R Laboratory, Warsaw, during which he curated Clinamen at Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture (Krolikarnia), Department of the National Museum, Warsaw (2013).
Post Brothers works occasionally as a “dis-embedded operative” for Objectif Exhibitions (2012-16). He has curated exhibitions and presented lectures and projects in Poland, Mexico, Canada, the United States, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and China, where he contributed a video and an unrealized screenplay in the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012). His essays and articles have been published in Annual Magazine, the Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt, Cura, Fillip, Kaleidoscope, Mousse, Nero, Pazmaker, Punkt, and Spike Art Quarterly, as well as in artist publications and exhibition catalogues.
27 October, 2012— FRANK CHU Jretdrostrenikal Exhibitions
Each week, Frank Chu commissions a new sign to use in his daily public protests. Each week, a different sign is exhibited in our office.
18—24 May, 2013
BETOGONIC ATOMIC TERRORISTS
CBS NEWS : FACE THE NATION
11—17 May, 2013
ABC : XUSKORUNICAL COVERAGE
4—10 May, 2013
BBC : KOTROPREDICAMENTED COVERAGE
27 April—3 May, 2013
FORTUNE: OLTGITRATIC COVERAGE
20—26 April, 2013
ABC : NUTROPHRENICOL BROADCASTS
13—19 April, 2013
TASS : CRACKOGRENIAL PUBLICATIONS
6—12 April, 2013
BBC : ATKROHONIGOL COVERAGE
30 March—5 April, 2013
CNN : PSELZTORXINACUL COVERAGE
23—29 March, 2013
16—22 March, 2013
FITGRORILLIONS OF POPULATIONS
CBS: UTTERDRENIEL FOOTAGES
9—15 March, 2013
OXPROVOLLIONS OF POPULATIONS
ABC : THOXKROKELLIKUL SPACELINERS
2—8 March, 2013
UTROCULLIONS OF POPULATIONS
NBC : TRATROJRELLICAL SPACEPORTS
23 February—1 March, 2013
ZACKROSELLIONS OF POPULATIONS
ABC : XETROJRUNICAL
16—22 February, 2013
EXJROVILLIONS OF POPULATIONS
ABC : BYTROSTENICAL PODWATCHES
9—15 February, 2013
LITROXOLLIONS OF POPULATIONS
CBS : MATROGRELLICUL SAUCERCENTERS
2—8 February, 2013
FOSKROVOLLIONS OF POPULATIONS
CBS : OSPROJRELLITAL SPACECRUISERS
26 January—1 February, 2013
UTROPRULLIONS OF POPULATIONS
ABC : PRETROGRELLITOL ROBOTICS
27 October, 2012—25 January, 2013
* An Assistant.
(AN) : ULTIMATE : ZEGNATRONICED : ANALYSISED : (A) : TECHNITRONICED : SUBSTANTIATED : ULTRATRONICED : IMPOSSIBILITIED : WITH : ALTRALOGICALLED : THEORETICALLED : DECTROLOGICALLED : CONSTANTANEOUSED : ZEGNALOGICALLED : IMPROBABLED : OCTROLOGICALLED : CONTINUOUSED : OMEGALOGICALLED : IMPROBA-BILITIES : OF : MEGATRONICED : SUBROGATED : HEXTROLOGICALLED : INSTANTANE-OUSED : PENTROLOGICALLED : DISPOSITIONS : WITH : SEXTROLOGICALLED : INTERRED-GALATIALLED : OMEGATRONICED : RHETORICALLED : ULTRALOGICALLED : CONTINUI-TIES : OF : TECHNILOGICALLED : ESCALATED : BETATRONICED : SKEPTICALLED : QUADROLOGICALLED : DEPOSITIONS : ( A ) : ZEGNATRONICED : RELEVANT : CIRCUM-STANTIALLED : PENTRONICED : AWESOMED : THEORETICALLED : ULTRALOGICALLED : RELUCTANTED : MEGALOGICALLED : STATISTICALLED : CONSTANTANEOUSED : HEXXED-TRONICED : APOLOLYPSED : ( AN ) : ALTRALOGICALLED : INSTANTANEOUSED : DECKED-TRONICED : RANDOMMED : TECHNITRONICED : CONTINUITIED : OF : ( A ) : TRIOLO-GICALLED : PERCEPTIONS : ( AN ) : OCTRONICED : AERONAUTICALLED : ZEGNALOGICALLED : PROPOGATED : PENTRONICED : THEORETICALLED : ULTRALOGICALLED : ASCERTAINMENT’S : ( AN ) : OCTROLOGICALLED : INSTANCE( S ) : OF : ( A ) : TECHNITRONICED : PROPOSITION( S )
Frank Chu (b. 1960, Oakland, California, US; based in Oakland) is a professional protester and intergalactic television and movie star. He studied Business Administration at the University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Hayward; Merritt College, Oakland; and Laney College, Oakland, before receiving an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from The College of Alameda, California, US. Since 1998, Chu has presented his ongoing series of signs in daily protests throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to his ongoing and undefined solo exhibition at Objectif Exhibitions, Chu has recently exhibited in group exhibitions including Portable Holes, San Francisco Pavilion, 9th Shanghai Biennale, China (2012); Sõida tasa üle silla (Ride gently over the bridge), Galerii Noorus, ART IST KUKU NU UT Festival, Tartu, Estonia (2012); and Psymulation: Reenactments of the Present, Photo Epicenter, San Francisco, US (2008). His campaign has also been featured in Spike Art Quarterly, Wien (2013); Nero Magazine, Rome (2011); The San Francisco Chronicle (2010); and numerous other publications. Chu regularly spoke on stage at the now defunct 12 GALAXIES nightclub in San Francisco (2003-08), which was named in his honor.
(Objectif Exhibitions would like to thank Federico Acal, David Andersen, James Dillon, Fabian Gonzalez, David Kasprzak, Charles Kremenak, Paul Kuimet, Nicholas Matranga, Post Brothers, Floris Schönfeld, Two Futures, and Xiaoyu Weng for their support of this exhibition.)
21 April, 2012—1 January, 2016 Nina Beier Four Stomachs
Nina Beier does not complete exhibitions. If parenthetically corralled, “(but so does Beier)” was not an afterthought dropped into last year’s text, but a signal foreshadowing this year’s transition from one stomach to another. Preceding a full stop, the () suggested an ellipsis leading to an even tauter entanglement of public/private.
“Cows have four stomachs and forget their past, almost before it has passed.” Yet one year later, Nina Beier’s Four Stomachs remains a machine, and Beier still prods the parameters. Methodically disfigured, those dozen eyeless sentinels performed their public service, and Beier has pushed them out to pasture.
They’ve been replaced by seven large works from Beier’s Portrait Mode series. Vertically oriented, human-scaled, Beier has arranged for this line of frames—bulging and overstuffed with discarded animal-printed apparel she sealed, this time, behind less reflective, more protective, glass—to sartorially squat the director’s private residence. Resembling the most haunted of trophies, this stable of compressed skeuomorphic garments is tended by a gatekeeper contracted to live within a growing series of questions—economic, aesthetic, conceptual, professional and, as so few will ever see, domestic.
Four Stomachs is now by invitation only.
Nina Beier (b. Aarhus, Denmark, 1975; Lives in Berlin) graduated from the Royal College of Arts, London (2004). She has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2012-16); Standard (Oslo), Oslo (2013); Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City (2013); and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2011-12); among many others, as well as in group exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2013); Moseion Bozen, Bolzano (2012); The Artist’s Institute, New York (2012); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2012); Index, Stockholm (2012); Tate Modern, London (2012); Moca, Miami (2011); Extra City, Antwerp (2011); The Swiss Institute, New York (2011); and SC13, San Francisco Antique & Design Mall (2010-11).
Nina Beier does not complete works. They remain subject to re-use, re-titling, re-articulation, and reanimation. With Four Stomachs, Beier defaces a series of busts (bronze portraits, plastic mannequins, ceramic figurative folk art), and positions them in the residential windows above Objectif Exhibitions.
Cows have four stomachs and forget their past, almost before it has passed. A bust is always born disfigured—limbless, partial, abstracted. Beier disfigures them further, and strips them of their histories.
Placing the flattened faceless fronts of the figures flush against the window glass, Beier symbolically seals their exposed inner surfaces—containers contained. Observing like eyeless sentinels or debilitated gargoyles, they too will be watched—fixed in place, or periodically shifting locations—over the next four years.
Altogether, Four Stomachs is a machine. Sentient, it reserves the right to restart itself at any moment, or to halt completely (but so does Beier).
18 May, 2013 Gintaras Didžiapetris Color and Device
“A compact disc, or CD, is one of the most iconic technologies of our time. It’s an optical laser disc, its shape reminiscent of a retina. Information is recorded into a spiral-shaped track whose density causes the diffraction of light. Thus the surface of the disc emanates a characteristic glow displaying a full spectrum of visible colors.
Abstraction is both informed by the world and learned—a concrete and known part of reality that exists and is shared within different contexts and with many degrees of complexity. Abstraction and reality, in the end, are two degrees closer to one another than imagined.”
—excerpted from public announcements circling Color and Device
Gintaras Didžiapetris is an artist. On 5 April 2013, the most comprehensive solo exhibition of his work to date opened at Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), in Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s called Color and Device, and it’s coming to Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp. Yet here, it will take on a more compressed form, towards a different sort of comprehension. From 12:00—9:00pm on 18 May, Didžiapetris’ trilogy of 16mm films and corresponding posters will be screened and exhibited, consecutively, and for one day only:
Optical Events, 2010
16mm film, color, no sound
3’33” min., loop
(On view from 12:00—3:00pm)
Optical Events delivers its promise—a silent series of optical events. Framed, recorded, printed, projected, and received, these interior and exterior images form a unit, but it’s divisible. It’s elastic. The film can begin on any frame. The film begins on every frame.
There’s still an elliptical glyph to deal with. Perhaps it’s a leading question. Or is it a signal—an inception point for applying or extracting narratives? Perhaps its sharp perimeter points to the many other perimeters seen within the film—etching an overlaid lattice into our eyes, rounding up the decimals to a less fractured digit (softening the edges)?
A Byzantine Place, 2011
16mm film, color, no sound
4’22” min., loop
(On view from 3:00—6:00pm)
What results from Florentine epiphanies finding their Livornese counterparts in a mosaic of unlikely icons?
Complicated. Ornate. A Byzantine Place.
16mm film, black-and-white, no sound
(On view from 6:00—9:00pm)
Vehicles, information—frames. From New York to Naples in black-and-white, the absence of color has an equalizing affect, but so too does the speed in all of this. Not reducible to the looping travelogues of a wandering eye, it’s something closer to a carrier—of the ambulatory nature of people and, in particular, how people use things: systems, trains, cars, feet, strollers, waiters, escalators, printers, lights, carts, plates, banks, sales pitches, roles, assembly lines, eyeglasses, computers, shorthand, and so on.
Towards the end of the film, a human silhouette changes the perspective. Demarcation, blockage—what does the absence caused by this singular presence tell us? Do we see our systems and relations congeal in an inverted shadow trailing us, rather than the other way around? Is singularity a clog in the system? Or, looking around the obscured head—to its edges—perhaps the networked staccato pulse that surfaces out of that head’s blurred periphery is what we should be listening for. Maybe a simple repositioning of the neck is all we need to get of the way of the right view.
Three different versions of this exhibition are being presented in 2013 at Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius, Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, and Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art, Genoa.
11 May, 2013 David Kasprzak Bruce Conner
“I’d like a piece of the reel.”
There’s a spool of 16mm film hanging on a nail behind a cash register in Bird & Beckett, a San Francisco bookshop. It’s said to be a lost film by Bruce Conner, or at least what’s now left of this lost film. Towards the end of his life, Conner asked the shop’s proprietors to cut the film into short bookmarks for customers on request. And they did, they do.
We haven’t seen the film. It’s never been screened before, and most don’t even know it exists. Films are always collages, but Conner was a pioneer in the cutting room. David Kasprzak has spent the last year picking up Conner’s pieces—buying books, collecting bookmarks, and splicing these filmstrips back together. It can only be incomplete, but Kasprzak’s approximation is as close as we’ll ever get.
From 6–9pm on 11 May, Kasprzak will present Bruce Conner at Objectif Exhibitions. At 7:30pm, aided by prompts including a doorknob and the last portrait of Conner (by Ari Marcopoulos), Kasprzak will explain how a film by one of the twentieth century’s most important artists and experimental filmmakers ended up buried beneath books. And finally, at 8pm, we’ll lock the doors, roll down the shutters, and screen what’s left of Conner’s lost film—for the first and only time.
It might only run for a minute but, afterwards, it’s back to bookmarks.
Bruce Conner (b. 1933, McPherson, Kansas; d. 2008, San Francisco) received his BFA from Nebraska University in 1956, and also studied at Brooklyn Museum Art School and University of Colorado. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at: Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Colorado (2012); Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2010); Kunstalle Wien, Vienna (2010); SFMOMA, San Francisco (2010); and Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley (2008); as well as in group exhibitions and biennials including: Sharjah Biennale 11 (2013); Barbican Centre, London (2013); P.S.1, New York (2011); 6th Momentum Biennial, Moss, Sweden (2011); MOMA, New York (2011); Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2010); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); among many others.
David Kasprzak (b. 1983, Florida; lives in San Francisco) is an artist, curator, writer, and founding co-director of Will Brown, an exhibition space in San Francisco.
21 April, 2012 Tilting the Collector
Hang it, buy it, box it, ship it, hang it—even in the context of an art fair, it’s not that simple. On one hand, there’s the law of diminishing returns, which can leave the other hand feeling empty-handed. For a certain breed of collector, it’s like Susan Stewart says: a collection can only ever be incomplete, and is always defined by what it lacks. To be sure, market value never equals cultural value, but collecting is not just a sport. It can be an argument.
Wealthy philistines matching serigraphs to their sofas, vampiric speculators, selfless benevolent archivists—such cheap reductions or romantic exaggerations trip over the VIP cheese tray and overlook what intriguingly strange terrain lines the world of the collector.
Through three individual talks during Art Brussels, BBC Radio producer Peter Meanwell, artist and olfactory scientist Sissel Tolaas, and experimental publication The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt (via artist Olof Olsson) will speak about their respective practices and processes. Considered together, their presentations may push ‘collecting’ into significantly more expansive corporalities and, from this expanded field, a more complex sense of materiality (especially in relation to those things we often consider ‘dematerialized’ or ‘ephemeral’).
Tilting the Collector will take place at 2pm on Sunday 21 April 2013 on “The Stage” at Art Brussels—an amphitheatre specially designed for the fair in Terminal 3.
Peter Meanwell is a producer for BBC Radio 3—a UK national radio station presenting classical music and opera, as well as world music, jazz, and the arts. Based in London, Meanwell often travels to remote or peripheral places to capture various sounds and forms of music that might otherwise go unheard, to record them for posterity and broadcast them for their cultural merit. Meanwell is also a contributor to the Wire, Songlines magazine and co-author of The Breakfast Bible—a printed compendium of breakfasts.
Based in Berlin, Sissel Tolaas is a renowned artist, researcher, and scientist, who has built an unprecedented personal library of approximately 7000 scent specimens and 2500 molecules. She has consulted with a wide range of organizations and companies in her work with olfaction—NASA, MoMA, Ikea—and holds undergraduate degrees in chemical science, linguistics, mathematics, and visual art, as well as a doctorate in chemistry. Tolaas has been awarded numerous international scholarships, awards, and prizes.
The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt is based in Vilnius, and is edited by Valentinas Klimašauskas and Virginija Januškevičiūtė. The Notebooks intend to mediate, generate, and suggest real events. Using the imagined contemporary observations of British art historian and Soviet spy Sir Anthony Blunt as an ambulant thought locus, the Notebooks exist permanently online, and occasionally in print—growing incrementally, in pages, not issues. Performance artist Olof Olsson will provide the generative conduit, through which the Notebooks may speak.
23 March—4 May, 2013 Simon Dybbroe Møller Männer und Moral
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26
1741 kg. Up here, kicking tires, it bears mentioning that the weight of such well-polished impracticality is supported by the three totemic agglomerated figures inhabiting the basement—sokkels, socles, selfless supports swathed in the tiered anonymity of their uniforms. Preoccupied, they perform their utility. They do their job(s), admirably.
It’s heavy because it’s loaded, but ANIMATE V is an anagram with only three doors, and each opens to any number of avenues. “You can look at it […] You can talk about it, discuss it. […] You can cruise in it. […] Let’s think about it.” It’s a convex screen, so if it breaks it has to be special ordered, but with the boot open, imperfection is clearly a sympathetic character. After all, the future’s coupé didn’t roll onto the open road of limitless potential. Form rolled over function, and a generation of intellectuals ended up at the mechanic’s shop—time after time, again.
Meanwhile, in 2011, a man runs but doesn’t get anywhere.
“There’s this joke: an artist, a scientist, and an industrialist walk into a—” Well, they walk into a carpeted showcase, but Objectif Exhibitions is not a dealership. Working in this transplanted office, we’ve set up shop to talk shop and drop stats: DE0T06 (Renault); 2001–3; 4642.00 x 1827.00 x 1627.00 mm; “Aubergine”; the Nutcracker; København; work and leisure; progress and disillusion; foreign food and red wine; bitterness. And the walls are adorned with other conversations. Fleshy images of Labskaus, Gulasch, Boeuf Stroganoff, and other gastronomical assemblies have been pulled from the plate collaboratively. Outsourced and printed in a new substrate, they form a menu served in a denatured commercial language to talk sales in appealingly grotesque tones.
Above all, a chromed logo tilted 90 degrees becomes a mouth, but this medium doesn’t consume—it expels. It spews whatever sweat, wine, motor oil, and cigarette ash could be wrung from a clump of sweatshopped shirts—an ectoplasmic articulation of an often-misinterpreted adage:
“Only what breaks can be truly beautiful.”
Objectif Exhibitions is pleased to present Männer und Moral—a solo exhibition by Simon Dybbroe Møller—in our ground floor, office, and basement spaces. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8pm on Saturday, 23 March and the exhibition will remain on display until 4 May, 2013.
(Objectif Exhibitions would like to thank the Danish Arts Council, as well as Thierry Anrys and www.furniture-love.com for their support of this exhibition.)
Simon Dybbroe Møller (b. 1976 Aarhus, Denmark; lives in Berlin) studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1999 to 2001; and at the Städelschule Academy of Fine Art, Frankfurt, until 2005. Dybbroe Møller has presented his work in solo exhibitions at Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen (2013); Hyundai Gallery, Seoul (2012); Francesca Minini, Milan (2011); Fondazione Giuliani, Rome (2011); C1 Kunsthalle Göppingen (2011); UMMA projects, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2010); and Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt / Main (2009); among others. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) (2013); Zamek Castle, Poznan (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Extra City, Antwerp (2011); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2010); as well as in biennials, including the 6th Nordic Biennial for Contemporary Art, Moss, Norway (2011); and the Turin Triennial, Italy (2008).
22 March, 2013 / 22 September—3 November, 2012 CHOSIL KIL You owe me big time
22 March, 2013
A woman arrived in January, and a problem arose—practical, aesthetic, and conceptual. So the man from last September reappeared to bore three solutions into the concrete. Yet it wasn’t her floor he aerated (or ours). For half a year now, the floor has belonged to Chosil Kil. And so, it follows, do the holes.
You owe me big time. It’s an ongoing conditional exhibition, a permanent work, a functional floor, and a potential stage, but concrete is an untamable, living thing.
A man arrived in March. 95 length-meters of carpet were laid over Kil’s floor, and a car was driven over the carpet.
Meanwhile, another car was driven onto a train. Kil arrived in Antwerp with three bottles of red wine. One at a time, she uncorked the bottles and the wine was consumed. Placing her glass over each hole in her floor, she wielded a blade to remove a circular patch of carpet. She then inserted a cork and hammered it with a mallet until flush with the surface of the concrete. Repeat.
Neither performance, nor repair exactly, responsive additions like this will continue as necessary to ensure the integrity of her work. And yet just as the needs of other artists make it necessary for us to compromise that integrity, those compromises are integral to her work’s ongoing development:
You owe me big time, 2013
Concrete floor, acrylics, filler, CORKS
884.5 x 1569.5 cm
22 September, 2012
You owe me big time. It’s an exhibition, a permanent work, a functional floor, and a potential stage, but concrete is an untamable, living thing. And apparently, it’s full of phantoms. Kil’s steps will be ongoing. To get acquainted, she camped inside Objectif Exhibitions, on the floor, overnight—osmosis.
A man arrived. He spent four days stripping, refilling, and refinishing the raw concrete lining the ground floor and office spaces at Objectif Exhibitions. Carpet scuffs, tire burns, scrapes, drags, dents, red wine, yellow paint, failed chemical washes, a grid of adhesive tape residue—four years, tracked and seeped one mnemonic millimeter, was wiped away. And yet it wasn’t, it resurfaced. It’s in the concrete.
Another man arrived, to converse with the first. They flanked a pre-verbal third, who the second lip-synched, back and forth, for the first. “He says those lines that appeared in the concrete today were always there, but hadn’t yet emerged. Actually, I remember it’s the exact spot where three wooden beams supported a stack of wall plaster four years ago.” A palimpsest, a spectral boomerang—stripping the concrete’s patina revealed the floor’s inception, exhumed its dormant traces, aired its imprints, and opened the communication lines. “These weathered inscriptions can come back again, or for the first time, tomorrow, in two months, or in another four years, at will?” The concrete is in control.
Chosil Kil (b. 1975, Seoul, Korea; lives and works in London) graduated from the Royal College of Art, London (2004). Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Galerie Opdahl, Berlin (2012); Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Gyeonggi-do, Korea (2010); Art Sonje Lounge Project (with Sunah Choi), Seoul, Korea (2010); and the Somerset House, London (2008); and in group exhibitions at the 9th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2012); Hollybush Gardens, London (2012); the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide (2012); Frutta, Rome (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Australia (2011-12); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gyeonggi-do, Korea (2011-12); Marcelle Alix, Paris (2011); and The Bailey House, Los Angeles (2010).
21 March, 2013 Extra Academy #13
As Extra City Kunsthal is currently undergoing renovations, Objectif Exhibitions hosted Extra Academy #13 in our basement, with Marianne Flotron in attendance as the guest speaker.
Extra Academy is the spontaneous alliance of Extra City Kunsthal and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Sint-Lucas, Antwerp. It involves close collaboration with a rotating network of guests and students.
9 March, 2013 Six Books, Behave Like an Audience
Brussels, 28 February 2013
I am writing to invite you to join us at Objectif Exhibitions for what I call our last last drink… As a final project for Objectif, I asked seven artists who had exhibited as part of my program to each write the lyrics for a song with the theme of late night conversations with friends in mind. Fortunately the artists were enthusiastic and shortly after I received the lyrics to seven songs, which I then asked three artists if they’d like to collaboratively compose, record and perform. The result is both a new band called Concert which includes Chris Evans (UK), Morten Norbye Halvorsen (NO) and Benjamin Seror (FR) and a record entitled “Behave Like an Audience”. The record is ready and we’ll release it at Objectif on Saturday 9 March at 6pm, followed by a live performance at 9pm by Concert at Homey’s (St. Paulusplaats 24, Antwerp 2000), a bar and occasional music venue.
Coinciding with the launch, we will also tell you a little bit about some of Objectif’s publications. During my final two years at Objectif (2010-2012), we produced a number of publications including two artists’ books, a couple of books of interviews with the artists we were showing, a monograph, in addition to some curatorial research. Most of these publications were made collaboratively with other spaces and released by our publishing partner Sternberg Press. The books and record will be available for purchase.
Hope you can join us for the launch and the exciting premiere performance by Concert!
All the best,
Mai Abu ElDahab
With thanks to Wiels Contemporary Art Center (Brussels) and Nadine vzw (Brussels), and very special thanks to Win Van den Abbeele for endless generosity.
8 March, 2013 Language is not transparent
From 4-8 March at Objectif Exhibitions, artists Annaïk Lou Pitteloud & Steve Van den Bosch led Language is not transparent—a masterclass with MA candidates from St. Lucas University College of Art and Design, and from the Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp. After a private tour of the current exhibitions at Objectif Exhibitions, and through several days of intensive presentations and discussions, each of the eleven MA candidates produced projects related to, or existing solely within, language.
Organized by Pitteloud and Van den Bosch, the final presentation of the masterclass’ outcome took place on Friday, 8 March from 6:00-8:30pm in the basement at Objectif Exhibitions, with new work by Roxanne Bauwens, Joachim Beens, Rens Cools, Jonathan Huygens, Elise Jansegers, Katinka de Jonge, Kaat Meylemans, Heiderose Mohr, Ayu Peeters, Claudia G. Sosa, Maija Tuohino.
26 February, 2013 Adam Kleinman
There is an adage which runs around war colleges, namely, that amateurs talk strategy, while pros talk logistics. More than words of wisdom for how to win a war, the economy—a war by other means maybe—is equally won or lost through the implementation and control of management systems. Just consider the KPI, or Key Performance Indicators—arbitrary, and often non-discoled data sets used to rate how well someone is doing their job; run afoul of these generally hidden benchmarks, and you might find yourself either on the wrong side of the negotiating table, or worse.
Join us at 7pm on 26 February to discuss how various esoteric market quantifications are set up, and to what end—be they how Six Sigma is used to increase efficiency and reinforce hierarchy in large corporations, or why, under the rules of ’trophy theory’ bosses should be exceedingly well compensated, while not being required to do any real work nor take on much responsibility. In one of the most grotesque examples, the talk will briefly stop at a period in the go-go ’90s, when a group of nobel prize winners thought they could predict the future by joining a complex pricing model with a form of obscure calculus originally intended to track the real time trajectory of ballistic rockets. To paraphrase Stalin, quantity may have a quality all its own; however, quantifiers might be today’s only qualifiers of value.
Adam Kleinman (New York City) is editor of Witte de With’s forthcoming online magazine since the end of 2012. He is a writer and curator and former dOCUMENTA (13) Agent for Public Programming. Kleinman was curator at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where he created the interpretative humanities program “Access Restricted.” Kleinman also developed LentSpace, a cultural venue and garden design by Interior Partners, which repurposed an entire vacant Manhattan block. There, Kleinman curated “Avenue of the Americas” (2010) and “Points & Lines” (2009). Kleinman is a frequent contributor to multiple exhibition catalogues and magazines including Agenda, Artforum, e-flux journal, Frieze, Mousse and Texte zur Kunst.
This talk was organized as a broadcast within Agnieszka Kurant’s solo exhibition, 88.7 (26 January—9 March, 2013).
22 February, 2013 Aaron Schuster Levitation
At 5pm, over coffee and around a floating meteorite, Aaron Schuster talked about levitation.
Aaron Schuster is a writer and philosopher. He received his BA from Amherst College, Massachusetts (US), specializing in legal theory, and an MA and PhD in Philosophy from the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven (BE). He is currently a main tutor in the Fine Arts Department of Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam and a fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry Berlin. He has previously taught at Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (PARTS) in Brussels, and worked as a researcher in the Theory Department at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. He has published and lectured widely on psychoanalysis, continental philosophy, and contemporary art, and is a regular contributor to Cabinet, Frieze and Metropolis M magazines.
This talk was organized as a broadcast within Agnieszka Kurant’s solo exhibition, 88.7 (26 January—9 March, 2013).
31 January, 2013 Nocturne
26 January—9 March, 2013
27 October, 2012—
Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz
22 September, 2012—30 March, 2013
21 April, 2012—1 January, 2016
21 April, 2012—30 March, 2013
29 January, 2013 Polyphonic Poltergeists
From 12-7pm on 29 January, Agnieszka Kurant led a workshop with artists from Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. Kurant first gave a tour of her solo exhibition, 88.7, which was followed by a discussion over lunch. We then descended into the basement, where Kurant expanded on ideas central to her work and introduced the results of research conducted in Antwerp, Brussels, and Gent into rumored or unfinished “phantom” works by Marcel Broodthaers. Afterwards, each of the artists from both institutes presented anecdotes, ideas, or verbal accounts of their own work, which were discussed as a group, through the ideas Kurant had introduced. The term “polyphonic poltergeists” was coined during the day, and subsequently became the workshop’s title. The day concluded with drinks.
26 January—9 March 2013 Agnieszka Kurant 88.7
Invisible forces abound. Agnieszka Kurant traces them through the legible effects they cause. It’s a particular line, trolling rather murky terrain: specters and speculation, language, paranormal phenomena, immateriality, fact/fiction and other flimsy dichotomies, black markets, black boxes, unknown unknowns, collective intelligence, the entanglement of past, present, and future, plus primacy, theft, copyright, and inter-subjective agency.
Kurant’s on her way to Antwerp with an eye out for conceptual art forgeries and unfinished works, and she’s bringing a levitating meteorite and a radio station too. Objectif Exhibitions will broadcast a series of silences—dramatic pauses extracted from political speeches since the inception of voice recording. Spliced chronologically, the “sound” of these scripted manipulative affectations will be relayed through radio waves from magnetic reel-to-reel tape. Amplified, will their ghostly qualities be as possessing as the absent words these silences punctuated?
Other phantoms will inhabit the broadcast. More than a few hundred fictional books reside within the pages of actual books of fiction, and Kurant is slowly giving them three dimensions and their own ISBN numbers. And, by arranging for several newspaper editors to write the future predicted by a professional clairvoyant, Kurant allows us to read the New York Times in 2020. At least when it’s below 26 degrees—any warmer and the future disappears. Meanwhile, Kurant’s world maps point to islands that never existed. Yet they did exist. Some were willful concoctions—the inventions of clever explorers in need of bolstering future peregrinations. In other cases, these phantom islands were simply apparitions that entered reality by appearing real. Territorial conflict, war, pivotal economic transactions, or fictionalizing the world by inking a cartographical error into its representation—the consequences of these anomalous islands show the material stakes that can arise from seemingly immaterial phenomena.
Agnieszka Kurant (b. 1978, Łódź, Poland; lives and works in New York) represented Poland at the Venice Biennale in 2010 (in collaboration with the architect Aleksandra Wasilkowska) and has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions at CoCA, Torun, PL (2012); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011); Performa Biennial, New York (2009); Athens Biennale (2009); Frieze Projects, London (2008), Moscow Biennale (2007); Tate Modern, London (2006); Mamco, Geneva (2006) and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2004); among others. Kurant was an artist in residence at Location One, New York (2011-2012); the Paul Klee Center (Sommerakademie), Bern (2009); and ISCP, New York (2005); and Palais de Tokyo (2004). In 2009 she was shortlisted for the International Henkel Art Award (MUMOK, Vienna). Sternberg Press published Kurant’s monograph Unknown Unknown in 2008.
On occasion of Agnieszka Kurant’s 88.7, Objectif Exhibitions hosted talks by Adam Kleinman and Aaron Schuster, as well as a workshop by Kurant with artists from Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam.
2012—2013 9535 words on 2012
9535 words on 2012:
Chris Fitzpatrick in conversation with Post Brothers
Post Brothers: This year you joined Objectif Exhibitions as its new director, and I’m intrigued by how you’ve reorganized the institution’s programming into a succession of overlapping solo exhibitions. Each seems to exist within its own temporal scale, but collides with others at different points along the way, so time seems to be a core element in your programme. Since at least 2008, you’ve been exploring the temporality of exhibitions through quirky maneuvers as an independent curator, but for your tenure at Objectif, did you start with the intention to temporally distort the existing conventional structures of arts institutions?
Chris Fitzpatrick: Simply having “tenure,” as you say, was a big shift. When I was working independently before, I travelled on a project-to-project basis to organize exhibitions from one context to another. That’s a different sort of continuum. Now I live in the same city where I work, and I’m contracted here in Antwerp for four years. To their credit, the board doesn’t renew the director’s contract, so this specific length of time became a starting point for thinking about what the programme would be, how it would be structured and could operate, and which artistic practices would inflect the programme and, in a larger sense, the situation here in Antwerp.
PB: How long has Objectif Exhibitions been around?
CF: Since 1999. Philippe Pirotte, Win Van den Abbeele, and Patrick Van Rossum founded the organization when the Flemish subventions became available for the visual arts. Philippe was the first director, and the three of them made a lot of solo and group exhibitions, editions, and publications. When Philippe went to Switzerland to work as the director of Kusthalle Bern, Win became the second director of Objectif Exhibitions. Then, in 2007, they hired Mai Abu ElDahab, who moved it to this current location. She focused the programme largely on production-based solo exhibitions, with discursive events, performances, publications, Circular Facts. It all makes for a great lineage to join.
PB: You were hired in November, restructured, and then reopened in April, which was very quick. What were those first months like?
CF: Fun and frantic. I pretty much created the programme in hotels, bars, and on flights. It’s good to be out of time.
PB: What’s the first thing you did at Objectif?
CF: We exhibited ourselves to our neighbors by throwing a party for all of the residents living above us in our building.
PB: Do your neighbors come by regularly?
CF: Some, but one family and their pet rabbit Luka have gotten involved in various ways. So the new programme started right here, above our heads, in our own building, and we’ve worked outwards. Win is the president of our board and, for several months, I think he and I went out almost every night in Antwerp. I wanted to see everything and meet everyone I could—artists like Luc Tuymans or Guillaume Bijl, galleries like Office Baroque, Micheline Szwajcer, van der Mieden, which later moved to Brussels, Stella Lohaus Gallery, which has since closed, plus Marc Ruyters at H/ART, institutions like M HKA, Extra City, LLS, NICC, underground spaces like Gunther, bars like Witzli Poetzli, Scheld’apen, Ra’s kitchen and shop, and so on. Early on, Mai introduced me to Etienne and Margot at Etablissement d’en Face—a really important space in Brussels—and that’s where I finally met Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys. Of course Win and I also went to Gent, Leuven, and other places so I could learn more about what’s going on in Belgium.
PB: Do you think your plans made sense to people then—the different durations?
CF: At first I had a few people ask me if we’d made a mistake with the dates of Nina’s four-year exhibition, but by now I think it makes sense. Time also led to space, because everything we’re doing is grounded in an interest in presenting exhibitions at differing physical scales, and in seeing how they could cohabit Objectif Exhibitions. But although the lengths have varied widely, most of our exhibitions lasted six-weeks. It seemed important to begin with at least some regularity and familiarity. In 2013, the ground floor and basement spaces will also host a few exhibitions of different durations and at some point we’ll probably abandon any pre-set duration whatsoever.
PB: Why didn’t you move Objectif to a new location again?
CF: I didn’t think this was an economy to expand in, but quite frankly I really like our space. I just followed its architecture and carved up our premises into zones in order to determine what types of exhibitions we could accommodate, and how to arrange them—temporally and spatially.
PB: The office, the basement, the windows of your neighbors in the shared courtyard, the ground floor—
CF: In some cases the artists have dictated these decisions, while others stemmed from an interest in expanding without getting any bigger.
PB: How so?
CF: By using all available space. By thinking of all space as available. We didn’t fix up our decrepit basement. We just cleared it out, closed off our storage and wood shop with something between a door and a wall, and now we regularly programme the basement as its own exhibition space, with its own obstacles and advantages, but we still treat it the same as all of the other spaces—without hierarchy.
PB: There’s no primary space and no primary programme.
CF: Well, a white rectangle is no better than a basement.
PB: They’re different.
CF: It often feels like spaces have a main programme plus a supplementary parallel programme, which feels really supplementary; instead, we try and present everything at the same level, or at the level most appropriate to the exhibition or to the practice being exhibited. But to go back to your question about time from another, simpler angle, if every exhibition lasts the same length of time then doesn’t that assume that all artists produce the same type of work, and have the same needs? We’re obviously not the first to experiment with scale, duration, or mediation, but the reason durations are such a central focal point here is that I don’t think of exhibitions as fixed periods of time for presenting finished work. They can be engines. They can be extensions of the practices exhibited. Those practices can be enunciated, so to speak, in the artist’s own dialect.
PB: And the “exhibition” becomes only an event within a broader duration.
CF: A duration from before, which outlasts its time at Objectif Exhibitions, but which can’t be separated from its time with us once it passes us.
PB: The watch, for example.
CF: We’re exhibiting Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz for six months, but it will live other lives afterwards, and it has been living others since September. And they’re exponential. In 2013, it will appear on Anthony Elms’ wrist, as he goes in and out of the Institute for Contemporary Arts in Philadelphia, as part of White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart. It’s an exhibition Anthony organized separately from ours, but I like that our exhibitions will overlap in different time zones.
PB: The watch is an open edition, right?
CF: Yes, which allows it to be doubled, tripled, more—in various contexts, time zones. We supported its production this year with Halmos in New York, which is Erik Wysocan’s imprint, and with Yale Union in Portland, Oregon, which is definitely one of the most interesting places in the US. I think we’ll see the watch continue to diffuse further and further from the art context that helped bring it into being. Sometimes it will come back, and sometimes it will oscillate between commercial and creative economies. Wysocan and Dexter Sinister are not turning huge profits. And we’re not turning any. That’s not what this “product” is about.
PB: It reminds me of Henri Bergson’s notions of duration—a subjective notion of space-time where the experience and registration of time is not limited to the broken movements of hands on a clock. This watch seems to be the perfect version of this.
CF: Well, I’ve always liked how even a stopped clock is right twice a day, though this doesn’t pertain to a reverse-engineered digital Casio with a 24-hour display—repeatedly scrolling, as it does, from left to right, and with one line segment out of the seven segments comprising each digit appearing at a time. You can tune it to your own circadian scroll. It becomes functional.
PB: You’re exhibiting a timekeeper that is always in the process of becoming and arriving. It is always in between times.
CF: Exactly, the time that starts on the left is never the time that makes it to the right.
PB: You mentioned scale earlier, and I wonder if time was also on your mind because Objectif is a relatively small organization?
CF: Yes, time is always an issue, like money, but here it’s generally ticking in a positive way. Everyone wears various hats. It’s fluid. I couldn’t do all of this alone, but a small team is not a handicap. We can act quickly and responsively.
PB: No need to waste time drafting memos when they’d only be going six feet from your desk.
CF: There’s very little fossilization here, that’s absolutely true. Take Nina Beier’s exhibition Four Stomachs, for another angle. It extends for four years, but still there’s a sense of urgency. It’s always changing. In some cases, Nina decides something should move and we make that happen, or the reverse. In other cases, a new neighbor decides to get involved and we add another bust to the population above. In 2013, Nina’s whole project will change.
CF: Nope, not yet. Come back in March next year.
PB: Okay, so the timing is neither a contrived plan, nor something haphazard, but always dependent on a variety of conditions that are changing.
CF: The various chains of events are interesting, too. When I invited you to write a letter to Nina’s exhibition, we knew I would read it aloud in the courtyard while the rabbits ran through Will Rogan’s exhibition.
PB: This was during An Evening Inside Four Exhibitions.
CF: Right, but back then I couldn’t have known that Annual Magazine would later ask Nina for a text and that she would submit your letter as a bloated caption for images documenting a different body of work. You’ll eventually see that she was using it as a sort of cross-fade between the first and second “stomachs” in her ongoing exhibition. Even if it’s only in hindsight, these types of distribution, confusions, mirroring, or splitting roads into sinuous forks—they accumulate, and they’re meaningful, planned or not.
PB: They show the productive qualities of an exhibition.
CF: Yes. Laura Kaminskaite’s Exhibition opened unannounced on our windowsill, to give another example. It was able to exist in peripheral vision for a period—available as anything else, but unclear what it was exactly. I would say it was an exhibition, and a preternatural “conversation” between objects. The flowers—those garish drip-fed RGB rainbow roses—came from different distributors in Amsterdam and were repeatedly replaced over the course of the exhibition. It was a real chameleon.
PB: A series of stand-ins.
CF: But of course the single living flower, the mouth-blown glass vase, the sugar cube, and the whole setting appeared differently once it was announced as an exhibition versus when it existed hidden in plain view.
PB: You celebrated her exhibition’s closing as an opening or reversed vernissage.
CF: And, with it, we released a text. So things shift between choreographed or improvised, or sometimes it’s both simultaneously.
PB: You said “hidden in plain view” a minute ago, and that seems to be an important part of what you are doing. Chosil Kil’s exhibition, You owe me big time, also extends subtly through your space—underfoot and over time. You could walk right over it when, in fact, not only was the floor resurfaced as a permanent work—or at least one that will exist until the next director remodels or moves the organization—but also a tile from another part of the floor was replaced with another work, which will likely also last long beyond the normal parameters of the show itself.
CF: Chosil grouted that new tile you’re referring to into the basement floor, that’s true. But this object, which she calls Osmosis, was actually removed after her show closed. She camped overnight inside Objectif Exhibitions in July with Peter Meanwell and Francesco Pedraglio, and then she took the original loose tile she found down there with her from Antwerp to Gwangju. She convinced a traditional Ceramist house to replicate it in yellow clay, rotten leaves, and tree ash. They were confused because they make exquisite pottery, not tiles, so Chosil had to go through several ritual tea ceremonies to get them to agree. After her exhibition, she asked that we put the original back where she found it in our basement, but now the original has been permanently fixed in place and Osmosis is nowhere to be found.
PB: So the duplicated, swapped tile became a sort of bracket for the exhibition—a marker for when the show was “on” and “off”—while the floor upstairs became the lasting trace that supports and influences other works by other artists long into the future?
CF: It’s Chosil’s ground floor now. You owe me big time is a stage on which everything else will take place, but always with varying degrees of visibility. And concrete is a strange substance; it reveals things it hid before at will.
PB: Like what?
CF: Imprints of the wood beams that supported the plaster for our walls, for example, that didn’t recede and weren’t visible. We surmised that they were stored mnemonically in the concrete. After the floor was refinished, they were visible.
PB: The watch is also “hidden in plain sight”. It’s an exhibition that doesn’t exist in the space at Objectif, at least not all the time, but instead resides on your wrist. How does this bring Objectif’s influence beyond its doors? How does it insert its augmented temporality into other situations?
CF: Well, I think you said it. I exhibit Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz wherever I go, at Objectif Exhibitions and in other situations. I show it to people. We talk about it. A related advertisement also circulates through magazines, but it doesn’t advertise the exhibition. It advertises the object and the ideas that fuel the object. We took out a full page in Mousse, for example, and in the perfect issue, as there were a few articles about time, including an interview about the 10,000-year Clock of the Long Now.
PB: The magazine can be thought of as a parallel mobile exhibition itself and a complicit extension of your exhibition at Objectif. Circulating the ad inserts the idea of the watch and the exhibition into an unpredictable and widely distributed discursive programme—the magazine itself with all of its other contents.
CF: That’s a nice way to think about it, but it’s not exactly parallel. The watch itself and the advertisement of the watch are inextricable. Also, this year the watch went with me to Estonia, Vancouver, the U.S., and other places—crossing various time zones to be exhibited in other places and even in other exhibitions, including the San Francisco Pavilion in the 9th Shanghai Biennale.
PB: It wasn’t listed as part of your pavilion though. The artists, groups, and figures you included are based in San Francisco, which makes the watch’s presence in the biennale a parasitic inhabitation. You burrowed one of your exhibitions within another one of your exhibitions.
CF: The watch is also sold through Halmos online, through Project No. 8 and the New Museum in New York, Stand Up Comedy in Portland, and Ooga Booga in Los Angeles. And it’s available at Ra in Antwerp. Aaron Flint Jamison and Robert Snowden suggested that once Frank Ocean wears the watch, the line should be discontinued—”game over”.
PB: The ads add another form of temporality and implicit discursive positioning, while the commercial dispersal of the objects is yet another way of infecting time, but Frank Ocean? The goal is influence in a sense, a kind of notoriety?
CF: That’s how the commercial world works, we think. Snowden says Frank Ocean still has his copy of Dennis Rodman’s memoir, Bad As I Wanna Be, so it’s possible. Probably the biggest challenge would be competing with Ocean’s Rolex. In any case, I think the impetus comes from wanting to see what happens when art leaves art.
PB: It reminds me of French revolutionaries firing at the clocks to resist the tyranny of time—the abstraction of time becomes even more abstracted here.
CF: I’d like to see someone try firing shots at a cesium atom. This watch feels more like “time” than any normal watch I’ve seen—even one with analog, rotating hands. Angie Keefer came to Antwerp wearing one for a site visit in preparation for her exhibition here next year in 2013. Her watch had an orange light. Mine’s green. Our waiter had on the same watch, but it was a normal Casio. Seeing them all together, his looked like it was frozen, or wrong somehow.
PB: It’s almost a Futurist, or at least highly energetic, portrayal of time.
CF: Well, the time might scroll quickly and incessantly, but this makes reading it a slower affair than the Futurists might have enjoyed. Plus a Casio is a fairly archaic device. In the ad, and in the tiny offset booklet that comes with the watch, Dexter Sinister remind us that time is “both point AND duration”.
PB: —which seems exactly what your procession of exhibitions seems to indicate. Again, what I appreciate is that this playfulness with time disrupts the conventions of art exhibitions and institutional programming. There are temporary events, month-long shows, multi-month-long shows, seasonal festivals, Münster every ten years, Kassel every five, Venice every two, but on the whole there’s very little temporal experimentation.
CF: I see what you mean, but of course there’s been tons of experimentation and there are others like Yale Union, Artist’s Institute, CAC Bretigny, and so on. I think the unfortunate problem is that, despite whatever experimentation, the conventions ultimately haven’t really changed as a result. In the coming years we’ll push this aspect of the programme even further, and we’re not alone in this by any means, but honestly, what we’re doing at Objectif Exhibitions should just be normal. It’s simple enough. Why hang a watch on a wall as a fetish? Or why put a flower on a pedestal? Why exhibit everything for the same length of time? Put the watch on a wrist, the flower on a windowsill, and give them enough time to do what they do. If it sounds conservative for the display to follow the utility, I don’t care, because it’s what best suits the work.
PB: Your wrist points back to your thinking about the spaces you have at your disposal, and about identifying certain forms of activity within different contexts within and outside of the spaces. Nina asked you to arrange for your neighbors to provide the windows in their private residences as a site for her exhibition. You’ve made your office—typically a site of administration, production, and discourse—into a silent site of display.
CF: Right, with Cabinet d’ignorance, France Fiction has a one-year exhibition in our office. It takes place within a vitrine transplanted from their former space in Paris, which they curated collectively, and which was also called France Fiction. They were interested in the history of the cabinet d’ignorance—these crypto-museological containers for objects of unknown origins or functions. We adopted their cabinet, and gave them full curatorial autonomy. They first concealed its contents with an embroidered black veil when we reopened in April with the new programme. There has since been a rather performative unveiling, followed by two rotations of objects within the cabinet and, just recently, another performance in which they cut the veil into fragments and then wrapped the objects on display with the fabric. The exhibition is extremely hermetic and obscure, but perhaps it’s slowly explaining itself in its own language—a frustrating container for aliens of unknown utility.
PB: The objects are revealed and obfuscated simultaneously by the forms of display containing them—
CF: The displayed objects and the means of their display are dissolved, that’s true, and this obfuscation is also extended through mediation or, in this case, the lack of mediation. What can I say about what I don’t know? That’s a question here.
PB: Finding unknown knowns.
CF: Giving tours, I’ve stood in front of the cabinet and openly speculated.
PB: You mentioned mediation. And I’ve read that you present exhibitions with differing “billing”.
CF: Amplitude. Laura’s show opened unannounced. We have an exhibition I can’t tell anyone about until 2016. We’ve presented some things privately, while certain activities were announced after they were already over, and other things were sent out as widely as possible via newsletter to our audiences and to the press, as well as through advertisements in publications like Mousse and De Witte Raaf. João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva asked me to write a longer text about each of the ten films in their exhibition, while they produced an even longer text to offer a companion to the ideas, theories, phenomena, and anecdotes they were thinking through with the films. Neither text is a direct translation of the exhibition. I have regular discussions with our designer Goda Budvytytè about how to deal with the shifting levels of information and needs of the artists.
PB: So each project informs the way it is disseminated, advertised, contextualized—even if that is nothing at all.
CF: Right, as tough as that is, even if that is nothing at all.
PB: This interest in mediation extends to the content of your shows in general, and your avoidance of a typical discursive programme in your first year.
CF: The exhibitions were a discussion.
PB: And like I said before, there seems to be a complex look into forms of hiding and delivering knowledge—and generally through presentations that are sometimes so spare they seem to be economical critiques of supersized spectacle. You also had two simultaneous shows that operated as a sort of dialectic.
CF: You mean What Remains and Halation?
PB: Exactly. Anthony Discenza’s exhibition, What Remains, had no objects except speakers and seating cushions. The sound piece was a cut and pasted procession of contextualizing material, as if the voice was describing a hidden visual situation, elevating secondary information as the primary site for information. So he had this exchange of senses, where language supplemented an unknown or missing experience. Conversely, Anna Franceschini’s exhibition, Halation, was only the primary sensory material—pure image and affect being delivered. Here you have pure affect and detached language presented separately, but simultaneously.
CF: Split by a floor, but true. With What Remains, Anthony collated textual descriptions of visual events into a manuscript, which was then read aloud by a professional voiceover actor. Anthony’s transition from one description to another hinged on the recurrence of the words “what remains,” which are really written way too often. Listening, a mind could suspend the impossibility of these incongruous descriptions being contiguous. They blended. The recorded voice could be followed and, if followed closely, a mind would construct a visual experience out of all of the audible descriptive imagery. Downstairs, in the dark, Anna’s show was very visual—gritty, but visual—save the sound of the projectors. Afterwards, we sent Anna’s exhibition to Auckland, New Zealand, where it went on display at St. Paul Street. It had a very different character in their austere space, versus our raw basement. The mental process of construction was similar to that of What Remains, but Anna and Anthony employed different forms. The exchange of senses you mentioned was certainly at play, and both were somehow complimentary and confrontational.
PB: Both were attempts to glean knowledge from excesses of information, or in spite of little information.
CF: Overlooked things—a writing tick, night labor. Anna honed in on these magnificent sights that we don’t necessarily register as such, whereas Anthony offered the conditions for something magnificent to come from all of this banal blather that gets written in and out of art. Similarly, what happens when Triin Tamm’s thoughts around exhaustion and withdrawal, surrogacy and collective production, or containers and generators, are put into proximity with Will Rogan’s protracted inquiry, handwork, magicians and agency, failure and comedy? There’s always something playing out between the exhibitions, whether it’s articulated or not.
PB: And yet they don’t depend upon that contextualization.
CF: They’re solo exhibitions.
PB: Certainly Will Rogan was interested in hiding and revealing as well in Curtain.
CF: Collages, lightboxes, video, mobiles—I liked that a fifty percent redaction makes a trick more visible somehow, or that a lightbox could push a page’s recto through its verso and amplify the abstraction that already exists on the opposing sides of a catalogue page. His looping video, Time Machine (Destroyer), is a technological anachronism, and a perceptual tool pushed to new functions—infinitely. The rabbits loved it.
PB: What interested me most about the dialectic between Discenza and Franceschini is that, while your positioning forced a specific form of internal cognition, both exhibitions catalyzed this process by giving only parts, so as to force a conceptualization. They also seemed to elicit a cinematic notion of time—a piecing together of elements to form a narrative—and that was true for Rogan’s exhibition as well.
CF: There’s something really intriguing to me about Rogan sitting there erasing those magicians from so many magazines, by hand, over and over and over, for so many years—the intensity of that focus. Animating.
PB: It’s kind of like closing and opening the shutter to find the blind spots in our vision that resist sight yet allow sight to happen. You don’t just see the work, but you see the seeing of the work.
CF: Right, or as you’ve said before, “those islands of lost acuity that allow sight to be seen”.
PB: Gusmão and Paiva certainly achieve this. Let’s go back to pointing, or to seeing the exhibition or the object as a marker—a demarcation of a zone or period where activities, ideas or objects converge. Of course this depends on the secondary information you develop with the artists to contextualize, identify, and disperse the works. Franceschini’s and Discenza’s exhibitions operated as pointers, and Gusmão and Paiva also seem to be pointing to a whole host of issues—philosophical, psychological, technological, biological, cinematographic, and so on.
CF: Gusmão and Paiva had me reaching for books I haven’t read in years, and for others I’ve never read. Their references are wide and their work is as deep as you can swim. Yet there’s something so material and immediate in their imagery that I could imagine your great-grandmother walking away from their exhibition viewing the world all over again for the first time.
PB: Cataracts and all?
PB: But where pointing is normally tied to the fingers, Gusmão and Paiva are in a way celebrating the armpit as the core of identification—not only of a certain human exceptionalism, but also as a kind of base fulcrum that is the “in between” of cause and effect.
CF: An axis, not an axiom.
PB: And spooling along that axis, the films seem to contain their own armpits—zones where parts fold, converge, and disperse. But the camera itself seems to also function as a prosthetic arm, extending the body in time and space. Where is the armpit as you see it?
CF: Generally, the armpit goes unseen. When that’s not the case, hair also has something to do with it.
PB: The chimps in your basement have hair everywhere.
PB: So hair, defaced heads, a comedy mask, four stomachs, and an armpit—are there any other body parts that have appeared or will appear? Is this just a coincidence or are you building a piecemeal body à la Frankenstein’s monster for the space?
PB: But it’s less metallic. Plus there was a hand, a foot, horns, and some snouts in Franceschini’s 16-millimeter film. If this programmatic body gains sentience, could Objectif become Subjectif, à la Pinocchio? Can Objectif/Subjectif revolt against its master/director and direct itself?
CF: As exciting as it would be to see the programme go self-aware and stage a mutiny, the truth is that we’re already watering those seeds. We’ve been around since 1999, so we’re sticking with the name Objectif Exhibitions, but I once saw “JRETDROSTRENIKAL EXHIBITIONS” on one of Frank Chu’s serial protest signs. Plus Adam Kleinman put forward the idea of making a temporary “Roast Beef Exhibitions” recently and, at a certain point, Rosalind Nashashibi suggested “Absorbif” as an alternative, so things are already getting strange.
PB: Okay then, away from the body, you’ve had ignorant cabinets, pulsing images, scrolling timepieces, neighbor parties, obstetrical turtles, processions of descriptions, and redactions that are additions.
CF: And phantom floors. Rabbit invigilators.
PB: Lost walks in the park.
CF: The reformative forest. And stunt double artists.
PB: Triin Tamm?
CF: Triin couldn’t be here for her opening, so she got another Estonian woman named Triin Tamm—a business administrator living in Antwerp—to attend in her place. She’s a “certified scrum master”.
PB: I wanted to get to that. So here you have a number of “solo” exhibitions that exist at the same time, like having guests that arrive and leave at different times on their own paths and schedules. These solo presentations also include groups like France Fiction and duos like Gusmão and Paiva, but who is the real Triin Tamm if she sent one in her place?
CF: She’s an artist.
PB: It seems that working directly one-on-one with artists is important to your programme, but when an artist’s identity so often exists through surrogates doesn’t this complicate that part of your agenda?
CF: Triin just doesn’t want to make personal concessions and have to exhaust herself to meet the demands of the industry—work, work, work, travel, travel, work, travel.
PB: Outsourcing one’s presence?
CF: It’s about trying to meet artists on their own terms, for their work, or for the way they work, even if they can’t meet face-to-face. I think through this gesture Triin was saying something along the lines of, “I’d like to be there, but I can’t be there, so I’ll find another me to be me in my stead.” There wasn’t much fanfare about her stand-in’s presence, but trust me, she was there.
PB: The exhibition was called Wasn’t There Yesterday and involved a collection of 35-millimeter slides called the Carousel Collection, which were solicited from many other artists. Were those artists there?
CF: A few came through at different times. And this population grew, as slides were arriving throughout the exhibition, in envelopes. I’d rearrange the order of the slides each week—adding, shifting, subtracting, pairing, contradicting, and so on. For as spare as Tamm’s exhibition appeared, there was a lot of presence in the basement—that of all of the artists participating in the looping, circumambulating Carousel Collection, plus their accession forms, which seemed almost like correspondence art. And there was a peephole so you could see the projection through the wall while reading the titles and verifying the individual authors of each slide. Everyone’s name was listed. There also were two hidden framed works: one was visible only from the ambient light from the slide projections, and then there was Last Step First—the functional, but shrunken, sauna model near our basement windows.
PB: She had you open the windows.
CF: Every day, for a meteorological and conceptual distribution of air near the sauna. Together, they felt like a symbol—of the necessity to slow down sometimes, to not work too hard, and to not be everywhere at once. We later had Audrey Cottin downstairs in Tamm’s exhibition during An Evening Inside Four Exhibitions. Audrey engaged in dialogues with visitors at one end of the basement—behind a wall that used to be there—while Kassandra Stiles read an alphabetical free-association manuscript Cottin wrote. Kassandra slowly spoke each word—from Alien to Zombie—in time with each clicking slide in the looping Carousel Collection.
PB: Kassandra Stiles is your intern?
CF: No, she’s our “Actualizer”. In September she also performed a work by Chosil Kil, called It’s your birthday (two quarters), for two straight hours, throwing half-euros in elegant arcs, waiting for them to land, bounce, roll, and stop, then slowly walking over to pick them up and repeat in different directions. It also made a nice reverberant sound on the concrete floor when the coins dropped, spun, and slammed into the walls.
PB: And after the opening?
CF: Whoever was in the office would demonstrate the piece. I performed it for the video documentation. Chloé Dierckx performed it on Saturdays. Kassandra performed it during a “Nocturne”—that’s an occasional evening when all of the Antwerp galleries, museums, and institutions stay open a bit later for crawling enthusiasts.
PB: Again, a kind of surrogacy, like with Triin Tamm. The implication of timing in the title Wasn’t There Yesterday—it’s as if one just missed her. I also like how Triin manages to stay outside but is polite enough to find a compromise. The surrogate is both her own Triin and herself, the artist Triin—a sort of singular multiplicity that exists as an alien both in the artist’s absence and through the scrum master’s temporary presence.
CF: A twin Triin.
PB: I see all of this connecting to the way you regard exhibiting an expanded notion of “practices” and not just works; the objects are outsiders that appear within—they are detached from their origins and the artist’s trajectory yet are integral.
CF: I like to think that each artist speaks a different dialect, and we’re an intercom.
PB: I heard that Chosil’s MDF arc also worked as a speaker.
CF: Right, Wear your plate was a massive, perfectly curved sculpture in MDF and it spanned upwards from the floor, halfway up the wall, then arched upwards, just under our ceiling lighting system, before descending down a pillar to the floor in the center of the space. It looked like it was about to burst. Two people, though, at either side with their back’s facing, could communicate quite clearly. It amplified conversations.
PB: With all the different temporalities, forms of communication, and origins of these international artists, Objectif could also be an airport terminal where everyone is on different time zones yet exists momentarily in the same place.
CF: Like I said earlier, we sent Anna’s exhibition, Halation, to New Zealand, and we also sent Triin’s Carousel Collection—full of new slides from its time at Objectif Exhibitions—to CAC in Vilnius, who then sent it to Baden-Baden, and so forth. Chosil made a work using material from our broken freight elevator, which is going to be exhibited in London at David Roberts Foundation in 2013. We like to see our nouns circulate.
PB: I’m thinking again about choreography, or maybe it’s that I see you orchestrating some sort of symphonic composition. Yet knowing your experience in experimental music accounts for the dissonance—minor 7ths, silences, and explosions.
CF: It’s largely planned out, and the dialectics or productive collisions you noted are definitely there, but one of the things about curating solo exhibitions in this manner that’s different from curating group exhibitions is that there is really no impulse to choose specific works based on how they function within some sort of topical or thematic construct. It’s the reverse. I ask the artists what they want to show and we go from there. Those conversations have taken as little as thirty minutes and as long as four months. I can see what you mean about the programme being an orchestrated whole, but I can also see these exhibitions existing independently, however close their proximity. In any case, if we hit a minor 7th in all of this, I’m happy.
PB: It seems like you’ve also integrated this form of temporal distortion into the funding structure of the organization itself. One of the roles of a director is to secure operating funds during their tenure, but also to provide for the future of the space, and to think about the future of the institution after them.
CF: Two Futures.
PB: I understand Two Futures as a kind of absurd funding or membership scheme, and can only assume that you know it’s likely a doomed venture. You wrote that, “it has been made clearly to the attention of Objectif Exhibitions that one future is not enough.” What do you mean by this? Are these futures parallel or perpendicular possibilities? And the oddest thing is the way that you’ve written the invitation in horrible English grammar and odd language reminiscent of a junk email scam. If it’s a parody, what’s the motivation behind this parody? What are you saying about how organizations are funded and the limitation of single futures?
CF: That was a lot of questions. Let me see. The awkward language does come from those familiar spam emails offering to put six million USD into your account from the widow of some late General or oil barren. Really they’re looking to drain your bank account. That’s a particular type of manipulative language and address, which is sent out blindly, and I find it interesting, creative, as scams and cons often are. On one hand, this project is indeed a legitimate way to raise additional money—at least towards the five percent I’m required to raise on top of our subventions—but it’s also clearly a parody of American-style fundraising, edition-hawking, commercial gallery-tapping, crowd-sourcing Kickstarter campaigns, and auction-dinner-type-thinking in general, for which we simply don’t have the personnel to sustain. I mean, I’ve personally donated bits of money to kickstarter campaigns to support projects by friends, but it I wonder if in the end it encourages entrepreneurship. Fundraising is something for publicly funded institutions like ours to think critically about, as there’s a real danger to this way of thinking in this particular moment.
PB: Because the right wing is in power now in Antwerp?
CF: Even before it was already quite clear that the city of Antwerp is more interested in running its own populist cultural programme than supporting proven institutions like ours. Summer festivals.
PB: That’s surprising since you bring a lot of awareness and an international audience to Antwerp, when everything seems centered on Brussels.
CF: I like Antwerp. I live here. More and more people from Antwerp are coming to Objectif Exhibitions, which I’m happy about, but we also have visitors from all over—Brussels, Gent, Lisbon, Luxemburg, London, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Vilnius, New York, Milan, Warsaw, and so on. We need both, simultaneously. What’s happening politically in Antwerp is complex, so when asked who provides our funding the simple answer is the Flemish Community.
PB: The Flemish Government?
CF: Right, the Vlaamse Gemeenschap. They increased our funding this year, and for a full four-year funding cycle. That says a lot in their favor, and in ours. I mean, we’re not sitting around coasting comfortably by safely exhibiting marquee names and we’re not catering the programme to some imagined mass audience’s wishes.
PB: And you’re showing Belgian artists abroad.
CF: So far, I showed works by Ruben Bellinkx, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, and Steve Van den Bosch in a group exhibition I curated for a contemporary art festival in Estonia. We’ll show work by another Belgian artist, Freek Wambacq, at Objectif Exhibitions in 2013, but not because he’s from Belgium. If the programme is predominately international it’s because it’s productive to bring in alien voices and hear how they resonate in Antwerp. I’m one such alien. With the increase we received this year, I think the Flemish Community clearly understands Objectif Exhibitions to be sending and receiving a two-way broadcast in and out of Antwerp, and that it’s far more beneficial than the money spent—further reaching, longer lasting.
PB: Plus your communications are in English and Dutch now.
CF: We just started communicating bilingually this year. It’s more than translation. It’s interpretation and interpolation.
PB: It must take a considerable amount of time and money.
CF: Well, we’re in Flanders, and that’s our policy now. I don’t speak Dutch. I’m clearly a foreigner here—a foreigner who much prefers cities to nations, and one who doesn’t care about an artist’s nationality or postal code. When I speak highly of the Flemish Community, when we release Dutch translations, and when we place the Vlaamse Leeuw logo online and in print, it’s not to say that Objectif Exhibitions identifies as Flemish. We are, however, an extremely important part of the contemporary art scene in Flanders, but this scene is also part of a larger international scene. It’s simply about reciprocity. The logo should tell you that the Flemish Government is progressive enough to fund an experimental programme full of difficult artistic practices. That’s something. That’s a lot.
PB: So the Flemish Community covers your operating costs, and you’re augmenting the lack of city support with Two Futures until they come around?
CF: The dues to join Two Futures are on an absurd sliding scale between 2 and 2000 euro, while everything members receive is distributed equally, regardless of how much money was donated, which is illogical from an economic perspective. If you donate 2 euro the item and postage costs more than the donation. So it’s a parody—a project. I think a larger problem is that there’s a misconception floating over Antwerp that contemporary art is elitist, and therefore alienating, because it’s an intellectual, rather than technical or purely retinal pursuit. You can’t have an opinion about a programme if you haven’t come seen it for yourself. I explain our exhibitions to people at our opening receptions, nocturnes, and during our regular hours, and I like doing that. We’re not Twitter. Exhibitions require a little time.
PB: What does this small faction want, a return to Flemish painting?
CF: Actually the Flemish painting tradition is an astounding legacy to celebrate, but so is post-war art in Belgium, conceptual art and a whole lot since, and I’d extend that to today. Anyways, as I said, I’m generally really happy with Antwerp, and people seem interested in what we’re doing at Objectif Exhibitions. But to go back to Two Futures, I want to make it abundantly clear that it’s okay if it fails, because it’s not out to succeed—at least not as an actual fundraising mechanism. The amount of private or alternative funding a director can bring in is not an indicator of the value of a programme. The market value of art is not an indicator of its cultural value. The amount of visitors attending an exhibition does not validate the work on view. Populist and market forces are interesting to look at and think about critically, but they tend to breed concessions, careerism, conformism, regression, sycophantic behavior, object fetishization—they’re ultimately stultifying.
PB: What’s after the future?
CF: Probably Sun Ra.
PB: Like a cow’s stomachs, projects and funds can be reallocated, digested, and redistributed into possible and real futures and presents. Whether Two Futures raises or loses money, this form of building support brings people deeper into the fold and shows they have an influence beyond just a singular path, but on many paths.
CF: The money Two Futures generates can be reallocated into the things we’ll be sending to our members in a sort of closed loop—orbiting the programme, but elliptically—so that it gets closer and further at different points and times.
PB: I read it also as a very funny riff on the idea of “futures trading” in speculative market economies that connects that investment to the soothsaying of investment in the arts—the risk involved is one of the exciting things about supporting an art space. The futures can commingle, but they can also feedback.
CF: Sure, but in futures trading, the interests of the buyer and seller are of course very different. They’re betting against each other’s predictions about a future price. With Two Futures, our members are “patrons”. Their interest is the same as ours—exhibitions.
PB: What if members are really speculating that the ephemera, items, information, and access they’ll receive in return for joining Two Futures will be worth money in the future?
CF: These things have cultural value right now. That’s why we’re producing them. If they accrue financial value then there’s a consensus about their worth. If they can be flipped on the secondary black market then there’s a demand that outweighs the markup, but again, using market value to gage cultural value is wrongheaded at best.
PB: Let’s talk about “boustrophedonic processions” and about this movement back and forth, this re-reading, this kind of alternating linearity you’re thinking about.
CF: Boustrophedon is an old way of inscribing text bi-directionally, where every line alternates in the opposite direction, with the characters reversed.
PB: The word comes from Greek.
CF: Yes, “as the ox ploughs” is how I’ve seen it translated. Processions, we know, move forward.
CF: Wrapping. Darius Mikšys and Jennifer Teets came to Parkbos Antwerpen with me, which is a massive artificial forest on the other side of the water from Objectif Exhibitions. It’s big, and it’s made up of row after orderly row of trees, which were planted that way, but seem to outgrow the confines of their construction in different seasons. So it seemed the perfect site—for proceeding not exactly forward, but back and forth, row to row, like oxen. It’s textual somehow, if off the tablet.
PB: Just as you seem to be continuously re-reading the exhibition space itself—observing the courtyard, neighbors’ apartments, basement, elevator, office—you make the park itself both the object and site of the exhibition.
CF: Parkbos was exhibited and it is an exhibition. It exhibits itself. It’s unclear to me exactly what will take place there when we return in 2013. This year, it was research. And what was found was quite amazing, but what else can be expected when going through a forest, trying to just simply look and not write? We think we found some leads. Darius might disappear on a boat into virtual reality, or into the patent office.
PB: There’s no fixed path for the project, as it involves progressively going forwards and returning, which I think is a good way to think about research sometimes. You’re letting the site determine the next step—like the rows of the trees growing back into a forest they never were before.
CF: Right, it’s a machine becoming nature. It doesn’t want to be orderly. It’s a forest. And it’s already interesting, that’s the thing. So it takes little more than a couple steps to create an event for the forest to be exhibited—the challenge here is to do as little as possible in the face of so many possibilities. The project is very much following that trajectory, and slowly. I’m not sure if the 2013 trip will be a culmination or a continuation.
PB: This potentially endless procession, this “boustrophedonic” movement, and its potentially endless development, along with the idea of having multiple futures, make me think of your repeated work with Frank Chu—professional protestor and intergalactic movie star. He’s an alien in an already alienated world.
CF: His conceptions of time, space, corporality, and dimensions are vast to say the least.
PB: He seems to exist in multiple places and times at once. Each day, he protests in San Francisco, with his signs, to inform us all of his labor dispute about royalty rights for his unwilling participation in an intergalactic reality TV show—
CF: The Richest Family.
PB: —which continues to be filmed on earth.
CF: In what he calls “live performances” of his protests—
PB: —which are screened and syndicated through galaxies we didn’t know existed. So, all at once, we have Frank the person in San Francisco or Oakland, California, and his reproduced images from the past and present, on earth and in other galaxies, existing in a cosmic future.
CF: Other than the almost imperceptible circulation of a footnote I found on an old business resume of Frank’s, we started his exhibition without “showing” anything material. His life is an exhibition. In 2013, we’ll have a slow procession of signs on display, but this year, we haven’t been exhibiting his daily activities in any traditional manner. Instead, we’ve been exhibiting his work simply by recognizing that it exists and is already being displayed elsewhere. He doesn’t need an institution to exhibit his work because he is an institution.
PB: —and far more mobile.
CF: Frank told me he is a reincarnation of the last emperor of China. The Chu dynasty. History doesn’t often speak of a Chu dynasty, so that’s one of many other histories he has implicated. He primarily protests in San Francisco, so people compare him to Emperor Norton, but that frame of reference squares him in simply as an eccentric. I see him as an artist. Actually, I see more of André Cadere in Frank’s work—informational codification, public presentation, parasitic inhabitation of other events, and so on.
PB: He willingly exhibits his work everyday, enters it into other frameworks, and he is also exhibited at all times, unwillingly.
CF: Maybe he’s a counter-exhibitionist. He’s being filmed all the time by what he describes as “top-secret hidden cameras that disappear into thin air”, and yet he’s actively trying to be filmed by legitimate news cameras or amateur videographers to talk about the fact that he’s being filmed. He knows every cameraperson, news reporter, and knows on which date he was published in which newspaper.
PB: Is it a fact that he’s being filmed?
CF: Is it a fact that he’s constantly receiving messages telepathically from his allies—the former Soviet and UN presidents? Is he also constantly enduring telepathic mental sabotage from his enemies—the 12 GALAXIES and their various nefarious networks on earth and across the 1000 GALAXIES? Whether fact, allegory, or indicting symptom of an abysmally flawed social system and pervasive media culture in the US, the 12 GALAXIES are real because their effects on Frank are real, legible, and relentless. I’ve seen it firsthand: discrimination, harassment, violence, and bribery. For example, I think the security staff at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles is definitely working with the 12 GALAXIES.
PB: How so?
CF: I went back to San Francisco to work on the San Francisco pavilion for the 9th Shanghai Biennale. And one of the artists I included was Floris Schönfeld, who was also interested in Frank. Floris and I met with Frank over chicken teriyaki for several days. Frank didn’t want to go to Shanghai because he doesn’t like to travel, but he hadn’t been to Los Angeles in some time. Since Universal Studios works in collusion with the 12 GALAXIES populations, we decided to drive down to LA and visit Universal Studios—we’d take a vacation, but also produce a video. Since Frank is being filmed all of the time for The Richest Family, Floris and Frank decided to film a simultaneous episode, and entangle the two. We entered their episode, which was altered by ours. It seemed appropriate that we stay at the Westin Bonaventure because Blade Runner was filmed there. On our last day, Frank knocked on the door of my hotel room, and was visibly frazzled. The hotel security had harassed Frank, profiled him, and even tried to trick him by saying his room number didn’t exist. He produced his key and my business card, since I booked the room, but they still followed him into the bathroom and tried to break down the door of his stall. All Frank did was post a letter in the lobby.
PB: And you confronted them.
CF: Of course, and as you can imagine, the head of security was a typical tough guy. The only thing missing were the bolts in his neck. He and a slimy manager—who thought offering us a free breakfast would make things right—tried to turn it all around on us when they noticed Floris filming me from across the lobby. They made Floris erase the footage, but they weren’t too bright. I emphatically refused the breakfast, and we kept the footage.
PB: Did you wear a wireless microphone?
CF: We never stopped recording.
PB: And if they find out and take you to court?
CF: They won’t. Frank would get paid, and we’d have a field day in the media.
PB: For Frank, was it an isolated incident, or was this the work of the 12 GALAXIES?
CF: 12 GALAXIES, of course.
PB: I’m realizing that Frank’s entire existence is inseparable from his work. His conspiratorial reality is fully integrated with everything he does and everything that happens to him, and that would include his serial signs, the video coverage he gets, the letters he writes to the media, the voicemails he leaves on their hotlines, his televised appearances, and the articles written about him. They are all traces within his story, but it seems that when his signs appear in exhibitions without his presence—without his activation—they can only ever be markers for the broader work he does.
CF: Right, like I said, he doesn’t like to travel, so the signs can’t be activated that way in Antwerp. We’ll show them and talk about them. It’s an exhibition that will slowly filter in and out of our physical premises in a variety of guises.
PB: As if tuning in, but always on—like TV waves?
CF: I don’t care about protest posters. I’m not interested in commodifying dissent, institutionalizing it, or fetishizing its material culture. For me, Frank’s signs are something else, much more. His exhibition is a period to work though just what that is exactly. We may have a sign on display, we may have a whole space full of them, we may host a screening, call a linguist, read a letter, write a book, or there may be nothing to see at all, but as you say, it’s always on.
PB: As long as he keeps going?
CF: His plight will likely outlast the programme, but yes.
PB: Here there is again this sensitivity to the artist’s practice—this role of just pointing unless another mode is deemed necessary. It’s an unusual way to “exhibit” someone’s work. But I think what is important here, especially for Frank, is exactly that you’re curating it. You know that he’s not just some comically eccentric figure, while so many others can’t get past what they perceive to be psychological and physical difficulties.
CF: This is a longer engagement for me. Frank doesn’t self-identify as an artist exactly, so he gets what he calls “campaign donations” from us and I purchase his signs so he can make new ones.
PB: When you were working with Frank on the biennale, you made a deal with Signographics in San Francisco.
CF: They agreed to produce a certain amount of Frank’s future signs for free in exchange for a sponsorship placement in the biennale’s catalogue. Frank has been calling in his terminology and instructions to Signographics for years. I think of them as his studio, as his fabricator, so to speak. It’s all just an attempt at non-patronizing patronage. I’m not a psychiatrist. Whether Frank has a condition or not, whether there really is an intergalactic trans-temporal conspiratorial network embezzling his royalties as a movie star or not, what he is doing is worthy of recognition. Bottom line.
PB: What’s going to happen in 2013 at Objectif?
CF: We’ll see a major shift in Nina’s exhibition, more from Frank Chu, the conclusion of Cabinet d’ignorance, the redistribution of Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz, an event in Antwerp’s pedestrian tunnel, plus we are planning seven six-week exhibitions, a one-day exhibition with the first and only screening of the remaining part of an unknown Bruce Conner film, a three-day exhibition of film loops, which will remotely extend and disrupt a longer exhibition in Vilnius, a summer residency in collaboration with AIR, and a scattering of occasional elliptical events, talks, screenings, and intercom telephone conversations presented in ways that privilege those who maintain the right proximity, plus the release of our first annual publication. We’ll be making four of these—one for each year while I’m here. Each publication will look back on everything we did in 2012 through new texts by Julian Myers-Szupinska and Alex Ross, a group-interview with the artists who exhibited in 2012 by Jonas Zakaitis, as well as plenty of photographic documentation.
PB: Two Futures.
(This interview was recorded in Antwerp on 25 November, 2012)
Post Brothers is a critical enterprise that includes Matthew Post—an independent curator and writer often working from an elevator in Oakland, California. Post received an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, Canada. He has recently presented curatorial projects at Galerie Kamm, Berlin (2012); Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City (2011); and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2010-11); among many others. He also included both a video and an unrealized screenplay in the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012). Post’s essays and articles have been published in Spike Art Quarterly, Fillip, Nero, Kaleidoscope, Mousse, Pazmaker, and the Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt, as well as in artist publications and exhibition catalogues. From February until May 2013 he will be in residence at A-I-R Laboratory, Warsaw, and from May until August 2013 he will be in residence at AIR, Antwerp in collaboration with Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp.
23 December, 2012—4 January, 2013 Winter
Objectif Exhibitions will be open as usual through 22 December, 2012. Then we will close briefly for the holidays and reopen on 5 January, 2013, with Voltaire’s Armpit by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva back on display until 12 January, 2013.
6 December, 2012 Nocturne
JOÃO MARIA GUSMÃO & PEDRO PAIVA
17 November, 2012—12 January, 2013
27 October, 2012—
Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz
22 September, 2012—30 March, 2013
21 April, 2012—1 January, 2016
21 April, 2012—30 March, 2013
17 November, 2012—12 January, 2013 João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva Voltaire's Armpit
[VIEW PDF BY THE ARTISTS]
Extending from the strangeness of an outstretched arm, Voltaire’s Armpit is a tripartite zone of naturalist inquiry—an axillary intersection, where ten silent 16-millimeter films by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva have been spliced into three physical and temporal proximities to constellate biological and technical comparisons, philosophical demonstrations, psychological illustrations, and para-scientific observations throughout Objectif Exhibitions.
- PROJECTOR 1
Disproportionately large, and “flying” at a pace incommensurate with the verb, a series of bees traffic more than pollen as they round Euclidean corners and land us within representation—into the very constructs (and distortions) of sight, into representation’s entanglement with ideation. In another film, a metallic instrument—a pendulum, despite any anthropomorphic semblance—ticks hypnotically. Yet cropped and temporally petrified, its metronomic sweeping appropriately denatures both the mechanical approximation of time and its visual registration. An underbelly passes overhead through a third film. Cars are constructed to our measurements—a prosthetic, but a human tool, specifically. Yet from this inverted orientation, what passes is something meteorological. We’re watching clouds roll and, with them, the transmission of esoteric and exoteric knowledge, simultaneously.
Circular motion, a detached backlit hand, a series of eclipses and flares, and the accrual of focus eats obfuscation. More than how a fish sees its world, the encroaching definition in this fourth film brings a bringing into view into view. So, overlooking or overwriting? That question seems to hover as the mechanics of vision meet the mechanisms visualized. And this extends to a fifth film. From parallactic vantages of varying interiority or complicity (and all edited within the camera), we study a watermill as that watermill—fixed to, and spinning with, its wheels, water, belts, levers, and other components, or from outside these machinations (but that proximity fluctuates as one image’s opacity ruptures another’s).
- PROJECTOR 2
A man climbs the film, as if slowed beyond gravity, one reeling frame at a time. There’s something entomological about his ascent—his armpits, the insides of his elbows, and the backs of his knees, appear equalized. Yet Occident’s illusive gate springs to mind. And speaking of Muybridge, a disrobed woman seems to have walked out a photograph and into another film by Gusmão and Paiva. Photographed at 1000 frames per second, the film’s somnambulant qualities amplify the contradictory significance of her destination. Motion / stillness, poeisis / obfuscation / instrumentalization—entering bed, pulling a sheet over herself, her veiling extends to the inherent fogginess of technological disclosure, and refutes its promises. Yet when a turtle extends its head into this mosaic of films—otherwise populated solely by humans—its reptilian physiognomy emerges as some sort of spectral inhuman birth. Alien obstetrics. It cocks its head to its left for a better view with its right eye, and sees the world a first time. The world can be disappeared, too. Children know this, as do their mothers. In a fourth film, two young girls and their mothers engage in a familiar, and seemingly innocuous game. Projected at so enervated a pace, it plays out just slowly enough for an illustrative underscoring to surface—does this heuristic exercise point to a certain solipsistic orientation, a certain fixation on repetition?
- PROJECTOR 3
A room, visible from a fixed vantage point, hosts a stainless steel pot, which contains boiling water—soup. Simians appear. They negotiate the space of the soup—the room, the soup, its container, and the heat emanating from the pot. Its heat, invisible, is made visible nonetheless through a series of interactions with the soup. Meanwhile, one simian subject, perhaps seeing a turnip for a turnip, is far less deterred.
Appearing in the foreground, do the simians see us, or do they see the mechanism through which we see them? For us, perhaps the visual effect is the same. Yet here, in the basement at Objectif Exhibitions, they appear to materialize from the projector onto the wall, into our eyes, to be registered in our brains. Prescient, their point-blank inquiry suggests some note of awareness. Sentient, do they provide a simian mirror of ourselves—squinting, with arms raised to involuntarily scratch a brain?
The films loop, the projectors resound, and meaning is elaborated from one film to another, from one floor to the other—by existing, and existing in particular propinquities. Is this a macroscopic montage of the technical and biological world or, inversely, a boomerang back into the eye? And through all of this, does Gusmao and Paiva’s fixation on the enigmatic movements of the human arm come into focus not as an axiom, but as an axis, upon which their images and ideas rotate and implicitly amalgamate into something metaphysical, philosophical, absurd, and tellingly productive? Have the peculiarities they’ve found in (or through) the human armpit offered the artists a conjectural black hole where all questions—and, with them, their answers—are subsumed?
João Maria Gusmão (b. 1979, Lisbon, Portugal; lives and works in Lisbon) and Pedro Paiva (b. 1977, Lisbon, Portugal; lives and works in Lisbon) began collaborating in 2001 while studying painting together at the Lisbon Fine Arts School. Prior to Objectif Exhibitions, their work has been exhibited in solo presentations at Fri Art, Centre d’art de Fribourg (2012); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (NO) (2012); Kunsthaus Glarus (CH) (2012); Museo Marino Marini, Florence (IT) (2012); IMO Projects, Copenhagen (DK) (2011); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (GB) (2010); FRAC – Ile-de-France Le Plateau, Paris (FR) (2011); the 53rd Venice Biennial, Venice (IT) (2009); and the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (USA) (2008); as well as numerous other solo and group exhibitions internationally.
2 November, 2012 Filling our reading glasses with Rosalind Nashashibi
Friday, 2 November—we hope you’ll join us in Brussels, as we fill our reading glasses with Rosalind Nashashibi, Raimundas Malašauskas, and the latest issue of Drawing Room Confessions.
Rue du Finistère 1-3
Rosalind Nashashibi is an artist. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2000, and has participated in group and solo exhibitions including: “Contemporary Archeologies” (with Lucy Skaer), Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard (2012); “Telling everything, not knowing how”, CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2012); Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2011); “Woman Behind a Cushion”, Tulips and Roses, Brussels (2010); “Repetition Island”, Pompidou Centre, Paris (2010); Manifesta 7, Trento (2008); “Scotland & Venice”, 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); “Pensée Sauvage—On Freedom”, Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2007); and “Displaced”, Hammer Projects, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2003). In 2003, she was the first woman to win the Beck’s Futures prize, ICA, London, for her film The State of Things (2002).
Drawing Room Confessions is a new printed journal named after a parlour game played by Marcel Proust, the Surrealists and others. It is made of words and exchanges, with no images. Six different sections (The Egoist, The Blind Man, Two to Tango, Ekphrasis, Time Line and La Madeleine) comprise the Rules of the Game, which are the same in each issue. What changes are the players, or interviewers, who open each round of conversation with the featured artist and who come from a wide range of fields.
(co-presented with Tulips & Roses, Brussels)
25 October, 2012 Nocturne
You owe me big time
22 September—3 November, 2012
Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz
22 September, 2012—30 March, 2013
21 April, 2012—1 January, 2016
21 April, 2012—30 March, 2013
22 September, 2012—30 March, 2013 Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz
Time is like that—both point AND duration. This is how it can bend and warp. A week, a second, a season: all are specific and discrete, but none are the same. The present can be cut to any number of lengths, from a single vibration of a cesium atom to the display cycle of a digital timepiece.
Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz is a reverse-engineered Casio digital watch. A tiny computer replaces the existing electronics and has been reprogrammed to slowly render the current time from left to right across its liquid crystal display, completing 1 cycle every 2 seconds. You’ll notice that reading this watch requires more attention than usual, as the seven segments of each digit are lit one by one across its display. This speed may be adjusted until it reaches the limits of your perception. You and your watch are now in tune.
Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz was adjusted by Dexter Sinister and produced by Halmos with support from Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, and Yale Union, Portland.
29 July—22 September, 2012 Summer
Objectif Exhibitions will be closed for the summer after 28 July.
From 6-8pm on Saturday, 22 September, Objectif Exhibitions will return with two new solo exhibitions. Chosil Kil’s You owe me big time will be on display in both our ground floor and basement spaces for six weeks, but will involve a new permanent intervention lasting well beyond the current program. Meanwhile, Dexter Sinister, Watch Wyoscan 0.5 Hz, will be worn on the director’s wrist for six months, in and out of Objectif Exhibitions, constantly. And of course our ongoing exhibitions Four Stomachs by Nina Beier and Cabinet d’ignorance by France Fiction will also reopen.
We hope to see you then.
18 July, 2012 Camping
We relinquished our keys. On 18 July, Chosil Kil, Peter Meanwell, and Francesco Pedraglio traveled from London to Antwerp to camp overnight inside Objectif Exhibitions. Resolute about sleeping on the concrete floor, they first scavenged the premises—a tablecloth, foam sound baffling, two bench cushions, an inflatable, and so on. By request, Halation was left looping all night, so Kil, Meanwell, and Pedraglio could stay warm underground from the virtual fires in Anna Franceschini’s films, while searching for the most acoustically reflective positions.
Morning came and bore traces: ramshackle, hospitable plush sculptures, a long, narrow strap of leather wrapped around a pillar. They left with a reverberant audio recording, and played it back during a reading in Kassel, as part of dOCUMENTA (13).
8 July, 2012 Boustrophedonic Procession (Research)
Darius Miksys and Jennifer Teets entered Parkbos Antwerpen to think about the possibility of a boustrophedonic procession with Chris Fitzpatrick. Boustrophedon is an ancient form of bi-directional inscription, in which every other line alternates in the opposite direction, with the characters reversed—a wrapping. Etymologically, “boustrophedon” comes from Greek, meaning, “as the ox ploughs” (and, by extension, relates specifically to how the ox turns and returns to turn again at either edge of a field). Processions, meanwhile, have one direction. Forward.
Parkbos Antwerpen is an artificial forest. Entering it was an event, and the research for a future event. And by “event” we mean exhibition. Parkbos Antwerpen was exhibited, exhibited itself and is, itself, an exhibition. It is also a machine. After reconnoitering its orderly rows of trees and coastline for several hours, Miksys, Teets, and Fitzpatrick had touched on snails and slugs, aliens, Amazonian canopies and carbon nests, vibhuti dung, horses, rabbit cabbage, prescribed burning, sky blessings, cloud bursting, the stroboscopy of the strawberry, space suits, ambergris, leafy spore ink, vinyl scratching, sweater weaving, walking needles, Predator, the Higgs boson, facial mask ingestion, parasitical botfly gestation, Robert Musil, petroleum factories, folding letters, mushrooms and sponges, dogs, dolphins, seasons, Flemish painting, parkour, cruising, paradoxical corporality, plant defense, doubling, reversing, reenactment, grids, antennae, anthropocentrism, artificial intelligence, ox-turning and Safaitic/Sabaean/Greek/dot matrix mirror-scripts, among other things.
No audience was invited. The event was documented, but the resulting video is not a secondary compensatory record. Sure, it’s a mnemonic device for Miksys, Teets, and Fitzpatrick, but video traffics well. It’s a generative tool—for remote orientation, ice-breaking, and recruitment.
Indeed, they will return in 2013, with others.
26 June—22 September, 2012 LAURA KAMINSKAITĖ Exhibition
Opening unannounced, Laura Kaminskaite’s Exhibition paired two diminutive interlocutors. And since 26 July, they came into focus slowly, through peripheral vision and double takes, on our office windowsill—a photosynthetic platform for a preternatural conversation.
It’s a conversation we can’t hear, so we called Kaminskaite on our intercom. “While comparing language to picture,” she translated, “one late-eighteenth century grammarian defined nouns as forms, adjectives as colors, and the verb as the canvas itself, upon which colors are visible.” If the vase in Untitled (Four Walls and an Exhibition) provides “a defined exhibition space,” the rainbow rose acts like “a chameleon, or a stand-in exhibition.” Asked about Sugar Entertainment, Kaminskaite correlated “the aesthetics of a white cube” exhibition space with “sugar’s ability to contain a faint but reliable record of the events it has witnessed.” We mentioned rumors of clairvoyants using sugar as a medium, and channeling the astral information it memorializes through their fingertips. “Forget the fingertips,” she said, “what might be recalled if Sugar Entertainment dissolved into coffee, or any other drink?” Each night after Objectif Exhibitions closes, “both pieces melt into darkness.” They “solidly occupy physical space, but lose their shape without light.” Meanwhile, “a sugar cube,” she added, “loses its form in a drinking glass, but the liquid’s taste possesses the content of everything dissolved within the glass—including the sugar and its information.”
Hanging up the phone, we stopped thinking of Kaminskaite’s cubed crystalline carbohydrate as a cryptic documentarian apparatus, and saw it instead (performatively, expansively, rhythmically) as an amorphous machine for trans-temporal gustatory mind-travel. Potentiality squared, cubed even. And we stopped thinking of her injection-modified, paint-fed rose as a fragrant, effervescent, living RGB print, and saw it as a deceptively hued, palimpsestic site of inscriptive mental projection—a paradoxically blank spectrum.
Exhibition closes on 22 September 2012.
Kaminskaite (born in 1984, lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania) has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions, including Walking in a Title, The Gardens, Vilnius (2012); Exhibition, Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2012); and in group exhibitions, including Sparrows, Contemporary Arts Centre (CAC), Vilnius (2012); An Evening with Doctor Sheppard, Contemporary Arts Centre (CAC), Vilnius (2012); Intermission, Café Cadets de Gascogne, Riga (2011), Cēsis Art Festival, Cēsis (2010); and The Happy Interval, Tulips & Roses, Vilnius (2009).
23 June—28 July, 2012 ANTHONY DISCENZA What Remains
What Remains requires time. It’s a solo exhibition by Anthony Discenza, titled after the sole work it comprises, and presented in an empty space. However, just because there’s nothing to see doesn’t mean that What Remains isn’t visual art. It all depends on who’s listening, and for how long.
A disembodied voice is speaking—is it a lecture, an instructive manual, a guided tour, sinuous ravings, a self-help exercise? Listen hard enough and it’s possible to end up in another exhibition (of your own construction). Yet more than any phenomenological transformation of Objectif Exhibitions itself, what Discenza offers are the conditions for an interior visualization, cognitively wrought.
Discenza’s text begins with other texts. Fragments. He collected and de-contextualized, sequenced and revised, dozens of descriptions of visual situations, written by other authors, about other things. Internet search criteria = “what+remains…” While these recurring words provide the primary glue, Discenza applied additional binding by outsourcing the resulting manuscript’s performance to a voice actor.
So, while What Remains is an audio presentation of a text, its medium is just that—a medium, a middleman, a means. A trigger. Partially text, partially audio, What Remains requires whatever imagery the audio’s registration evokes. Listening to the voice, picturing what it describes, while associating and amalgamating each shifting description, an absent subject may be continually lost, found, and invented.
Anthony Discenza (b. 1967, New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.; lives and works in Oakland, California) graduated from California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2000), and Wesleyan University, Connecticut (1990). He has exhibited his work in recent solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012); Ballroom Marfa, Texas (2012); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012); the United Nations Pavilion, Shanghai (2010); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2000). Discenza also works with artist Torsten Zenas Burns as HalfLifers.
23 June—28 July, 2012 ANNA FRANCESCHINI Halation
The visual arts is often a heliocentric enterprise, isn’t it? And so, what could be a more alluring act of light worship than going blind from staring at the sun? After discovering the phenomena of the persistence of visual impressions, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau (1801—1883) developed uveitis and lost his sight. Lately, Anna Franceschini has been staring at Plateau, which led her to a few other light sources. They became films.
Plateau invented the Phenakistoscope and, with it, the stroboscopic illusion of moving images—key to the development of cinema. 180 years later, Halation could be viewed as a sublimated homage to (or, more elliptically, around) Plateau. The three films Franceschini presents in the basement of Objectif Exhibitions are closer to visual experiments than cinema. It’s a dark room, below ground, at a safe remove from the sun.
Two of the films share the title It’s All About Light (To Joseph Plateau). The first was shot on 16mm film, transferred to video and, projected, illuminates the room with the aesthetic byproduct of night labor: blind spots. The second, also projected in video, but shot on 8mm, again depicts the typically unseen visual residue of hard labor. Symmetrical flame fountains, shifting perspective, a hand, and a few spare snaking acetylene flashes collide to eviscerate a monochromatic field of black (night). A third film, It’s About Light and Death (To Joseph Plateau), is projected directly from 16mm film. It reveals the frozen physiognomy of a taxidermied animal—a dead photographic pose, panning like a Zoetrope, one pulsing glimpse at a time (24 times per second).
Three films. Three looping sources of light. They’re open letters, visual impressions, and they persist.
Anna Franceschini (b. 1979, Pavia, Italy; lives and works in Brussels) completed a residency at Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2010), and graduated from IULM University in Milan (2006). She received the Premio d’Arte Contemporanea Ermanno Casoli award in Fabriano, Italy (2012), and the TFF/Torino Film Festival’s Distribution Award A.V.A.N.T.I. (2008). Her work has been presented in recent solo exhibitions at Ex Elettrofonica, Rome (2012); Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld, Germany (2012); and Kiosk, Ghent, Belgium (2011); as well as in numerous international group exhibitions.
Halation travelled in September 2012 to ST PAUL St Gallery, at the School of Art and Design, AUT University, in Auckland, New Zealand.
30 May, 2012 An Evening Inside Four Exhibitions
An Evening Inside Four Exhibitions was an evening with four absent artists. Nina Beier, France Fiction, Will Rogan, Triin Tamm—none of them were there, but others or other things were dispatched to inhabit the exhibitions in their stead.
Audrey Cottin, for example, descended deep into Triin Tamm’s exhibition, Wasn’t There Yesterday. Cottin presented Can’t be everywhere, can be everybody—a performative diptych, in which Cottin hovered around the accession forms for Tamm’s traveling slideshow, The Carousel Collection. Welcoming each dimly lit visitor, Cottin engaged in a series of dialogues. Meanwhile, for two straight hours, Kassandra Stiles occupied a music stand by Tamm’s projection, where Stiles slowly and repeatedly read through Cottin’s alphabetically successive list of associative words and phrases—one for each slide, from “Alien” to “Zombie”.
While Cottin and Stiles simultaneously circumambulated Tamm’s exhibition downstairs, two well-appointed rabbits called Luka and Vlokje explored Will Rogan’s exhibition, Curtain. Hopping, sprinting, resting, or observing, their movements offered a less anthropocentric route through a circuitous exhibition of absences, presences, redactions, and illuminations. Luka lives upstairs.
France Fiction’s Cabinet d’ignorance was draped in black, but lifting the veil from the left was regularly advised—a view inverted by three kilos of crystal.
Finally, a letter to ”the cow in the little market” arrived from an elevator in California. Post Brothers penned four A4s about Nina Beier’s four-year exhibition, Four Stomachs. Chris Fitzpatrick read the entire letter aloud in the courtyard, beneath the absent faces of Beier’s disfigured busts (the letter was later published in the fifth issue of Annual Magazine).
21 April, 2012—30 March, 2013 France Fiction Cabinet d'ignorance
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24
France Fiction was founded in 2004, and includes Stéphane Argillet, Marie Bonnet, Eric Camus, Lorenzo Cirrincione, and Nicolas Nakamoto. Operating as an exhibition space, a magazine, a curator, or a singular artist, France Fiction produces a variety of forms—from sheer formlessness to editions, from renewing the forgotten grave of Demetrius d’Exarque to producing pedagogical ink or playing marbles (with both changing rules and enigmatic conditions that affect the results).
For one year, Objectif Exhibitions will host France Fiction’s Cabinet d’ignorance in its office. The title relates to the history of display cabinets for objects with unknown functions or origins. An office is fitting—the site of administration, meetings, paperwork, and so on. A glass and steel vitrine, transplanted from France Fiction’s space in Paris, will provide a vehicle for disseminating other forms of knowledge, available in all of their uncertainty.
France Fiction (founded in Paris, France, 2004; consists of Stéphane Argillet, Marie Bonnet, Eric Camus, Lorenzo Cirrincione, and Nicolas Nakamoto) has exhibited its work in solo exhibitions at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2012-13); and Jeu de Paume, Paris (2011); as well as in group exhibitions at Frutta, Rome (2012); Artissima 18, Turin (2011); Galerie Stereo, Poznan (2011); ACCA, Melbourne (2011); Wysing Arts Center, Cambridge (2010); HBC, Berlin (2010); Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2009-2010); Serpentine Gallery, London (2008); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008).
France Fiction, also a space in Paris, has held exhibitions and events for artists including Darius Miksys, Mark Aerial Waller, Pierre Leguillon, Vava Dudu, André du Colombier, and Jean Yves Jouannais.
21 April—9 June, 2012 Will Rogan Curtain
Will Rogan exhibits twelve photographic objects in Curtain—yet none is a photograph exactly. Through video, collage, sculpture, paper, or mistreated light, images are re-circulated, veiled, and obliterated.
Painted prisms, for example, are unable to refract—are they dead lenses, closed apertures, hypnotic tools? With three new light boxes, abstract forms emerge from images depicting abstract forms. A verso lacerates its recto. Disparate times are conflated. Fracturing a Xeroxed image of Canadian magician Doug Henning, as he appears to fade through a brick wall, was Rogan interested in Henning’s achievements or failures? And from what angle do our architectural elements erase Rogan’s redactions of Henning’s contemporaries?
Photographically, Rogan collides mechanics and effects to correlate the lingering transcendental aspirations of art with those of magic, and positions the power attributed to artists uncomfortably against the agency of magicians.
Will Rogan (b. Illinois, U.S., 1975; Lives in Albany, California) graduated from University of California, Berkeley (2006), and San Francisco Art Institute (1999). His work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2012); Frutta, Rome (2012); Art In General, New York (2011); MOT International, London (2011); Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center (2009); and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007). Rogan was a 2002 recipient of the SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Since 2007, Rogan has co-edited THE THING Quarterly with artist Jonn Herschend, producing objects by 19 artists including Allora & Calzadilla, Trisha Donnelly, and Ryan Gander.
21 April—9 June, 2012 Triin Tamm Wasn’t There Yesterday
Wasn’t There Yesterday. It’s a fitting title, since she wasn’t here yesterday either. Scheduling conflicts. Yet traces remain in the works Tamm’s assistants installed in the basement at Objectif Exhibitions. And having so common an Estonian name, Tamm arranged for another Triin Tamm (living near Antwerp) to attend the opening in her place.
Tamm’s title is not only rooted in practicalities, but also in issues of mediation, inter-subjectivity, professional expectations, exhaustion, and freedom. While Tamm can’t be everywhere, she’s rarely alone. The Carousel Collection contains work by many others—invited to contribute a slide to the collection. They will change weekly, with new contributions from people closely tied to Objectif Exhibitions.
Are the objects and ideas Tamm presents both containers and generators? If so, our basement serves well—containing, as it does, a chaotic lattice of heating pipes along the ceiling, and spreading upwards, throughout the entire building.
Triin Tamm (b. Paide, Estonia, 1982; lives and works) graduated from Poznan Academy of Arts (2005). A retrospective of Tamm’s work was exhibited at OUI, Grenoble (2009), for which a corresponding catalogue was produced. Her work has since been included in solo and group exhibitions internationally at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2012); Sans Serriffe, Amsterdam (2012); KIM? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2012); Corner College, Zurich (2011); Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2011); HIAP, Helsinki (2011) and Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, (2011).
Another Triin Tamm lives here, in the Antwerp area, working as a Prince 2-certified business advisor, entrepreneur, and certified ScrumMaster.
11 March, 2012 Beste Buur
Objectif Exhibitions exhibited itself to its neighbors at Kleine Markt 7-9, by hosting an informal party for residents of the building.
19 January, 2012 Raimundas Malašauskas Paper Exhibition
Paper Exhibition is an anthology of writings by Raimundas Malašauskas published in collaboration with Kunstverein Publishing, Sternberg Press, Sandberg Institute, The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt, and with additional support from Kadist Foundation and Objectif Exhibitions.
The texts contained within the publication’s 240 pages were selected and edited by Aurimė Aleksandravičiūtė & Jonas Žakaitis, Tyler Coburn, Audrey Cottin, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Virginija Januškevičiūtė, Angie Keefer, Kevin Killian, Maxine Kopsa, John Menick, Vivian Rehberg, Sarah Rifky, Aaron Schuster, Vivian Ziherl, and Tirdad Zolghadr; with additional contributions by Judith Braun, François Bucher, Chris Fitzpatrick & Post Brothers, Darius Mikšys, Dexter Sinister, and Lucy E. Smith.
Philippe Pirotte, Win Van den Abbeele, and Patrick Van Rossem founded Objectif Exhibitions in 1999. Mai Abu ElDahab became its Director in 2007, and moved the organization to its current location. Please view the following websites for the previous exhibition history at Objectif Exhibitions: