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While researching the images to use in upcoming exhibition Not Welcome from my Defacing Art Project, I found this artist that imagines portraits of dictators as boys. I found this approach to representation of power and sociopolitical systems very interesting:
“My paintings reflect my interests in power, manipulation and the role of the individual in inherited belief systems. It is important for me to examine the duality of truth and falsehood throughout my work, which I do by creating ‘portraits’ which may or may not be based on real documentation.
The series ‘Boys’, in which dictators were depicted as children, looked at purity and corruption and, in particular, the notion of the ‘Innocent Child’. The series ‘Girls’ looked at the continuing media-led sexualisation of childhood and raised questions about our collusion in the deification and commodification of female child stars, from Shirley Temple to Britney Spears. Whereas the boys had to make a name for themselves as Pol Pot or Hitler, the girls were found, sought out, and their image given to them. The process of self invention, innocence and culpability touches both series differently.”
Find out more here
The radicant is becoming my little white bible…
“In ordinary language, ‘modernizing’ has come to mean reducing cultural and social reality to Western formats. And today, modernism amounts to a form of complicity with colonialism and Eurocentrism. Let us bet on a modernity which, far from absurdly duplicating that of the last century, would be specific to our epoch and would echo its own problematics: an altermodernity whose issues and features this book seeks to sketch out.”
POSTMODERNISM IS DEAD
A new modernity is emerging, reconfigured to an age of globalisation – understood in its economic, political and cultural aspects: an altermodern culture
Increased communication, travel and migration are affecting the way we live
Our daily lives consist of journeys in a chaotic and teeming universe
Multiculturalism and identity is being overtaken by creolisation: Artists are now starting from a globalised state of culture
This new universalism is based on translations, subtitling and generalised dubbing
Today’s art explores the bonds that text and image, time and space, weave between themselves
Artists are responding to a new globalised perception. They traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs and create new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication.
The Tate Triennial 2009 at Tate Britain presents a collective discussion around this premise that postmodernism is coming to an end, and we are experiencing the emergence of a global altermodernity.
Altermodern – Tate Triennial 2009
at Tate Britain
4 February – 26 April 2009
Check out the making of the film DADE directed by Françoise Ellong and shot by David Wolfer, they use print outs of my latest Defacing works.
Here is a small clip from the exhibition Portraits d’amies at the opening reception on September 11th 2008.
Video by Françoise Ellong & David Wolfer
While transforming it is always good to look back… Do you know this Modern Clics boy? youtube him
Video by Françoise Ellong & David Wolfer
While hicking on the the outskirts forests of Paris (right around where Vincent van Gogh lived his last days: Auvers Sur Oise) we found some installations while we were walking… later on that afternoon we met one of the artists doing the installations and were happy to talk installation art in the forest… I took a couple of pics to share… (information via comptineduquotidien)
Posted on Frieze Issue 120 Jan-Feb 2009
Nicolas Bourriaud, curator of the next Tate Triennial, ‘Altermodern’, talks to frieze about botany, modernity, time, class and exhibition-making image
TOM MORTON Your forthcoming book The Radicant employs a botanical metaphor to identify a form of cultural production whose roots are not static and buried, like those of a tree, but mobile and above ground, like those of a creeper or ivy. How has this informed your approach to the forthcoming Tate Triennial, an exhibition that has traditionally consisted of British artists but for which you have selected non-British ‘passers-by’, including Subodh Gupta and Loris Gréaud.
NICOLAS BOURRIAUD Whether buried or visible, roots and origins constitute brakes or barriers in contemporary art. The Postmodern period has been active in levelling the different ‘versions’ of time and space across the planet, by de-occidentalizing them. Artists nowadays start from a globalized cultural state, from where they try to reach more specific fields, and not the other way round. Pascale Marthine Tayou or Navin Rawanchaikul, for example, can observe the world from Cameroon or Chiang Mai. They no longer need to sell their cultural roots but to organize connections between signs and forms, circuits of meaning: they progress in a ‘radicant’ way. Let’s not forget that ‘radical’ means ‘belonging to the root’. The Triennial’s hypothesis consists in affirming an emerging modernity for our century, based on planetary exchanges, on translation, on the intertwining of space and time in a multi-layered world. That is why it comprises artists who are UK-born, residents and those who are passing through. Being British means having been sufficiently irradiated by a certain amount of specific cultural wavelengths. I prefer to show London as a magnet for influences and energies that originate elsewhere.
TM Both The Radicant and the Tate Triennial arrive at a moment of global economic crisis. Is this significant to your construction of ‘altermodern’?
NB The term ‘Postmodern’ first appeared around the time of the 1973 oil crisis, an event that caused the world to realize for the first time that our energy reserves were limited – i.e., it put an end to the idea of superabundance, infinite progress and the Modernist idea of culture as a projection into the future. The oil crisis represents for me the ‘primordial moment’ of Postmodernism. Since then the economy has been disconnected from natural resources and reoriented towards an immaterial ‘financialization’, whose limits we clearly see now, with the partial collapse of the system. While the economy was severing its ties with concrete geography, culture was becoming divorced from history as a coherent scenario. Postmodernism was the story of this disconnection, leading to a reified conception of ‘origins’. What I call ‘altermodern’ is the narrative of our reconnection with both, through a new set of parameters linked to globalization: instantaneity, availability, displacements …
Our UK friend Tom Cullen invited us to the opening reception Confessions: Portraits, Videos by Gillian Wearing at the Rodin Museum and we loved it. For this event, the artist created Secrets and Lies, a new version of the 1994 work entitled Confess all on video. Don’t Worry You Will Be in Disguise. Intrigued ? Call Gillian…. Secrets and Lies will be presented to the public for the first time during the exhibition. We also appreciated to casually walk the Museum without stepping on Japanese tourists. I had tried twice to go to this museum and each time I did something else because there was a very, very, very long line to get in.
Posted on Le Monde on 04/09/09
by Emmanuelle Lequeux
Le Français Nicolas Bourriaud aime les concepts et ce n’est pas ce qu’il fait de plus mal. Cet ancien directeur du Palais de Tokyo, le principal centre d’art en France, a profité de son exil londonien pour développer son nouveau credo dans le cadre d’une exposition à la Tate Britain.
Dans les années 1990, il a forgé l’idée d'”esthétique relationnelle” : voir les oeuvres pour les liens sociaux qu’elles tissent et produisent entre elles et non comme des objets d’art autonomes. Dans les années 2000, il a défini les plasticiens comme des “sémionautes” : navigateurs sur un océan de signes.
Sa nouvelle recherche est joliment intitulée “Altermodernisme”. Pour Bourriaud, les vingt-cinq dernières années du XXe siècle “furent un long épisode mélancolique. Les oeuvres d’art se sont définies comme un après : après le mythe du progrès, l’utopie révolutionnaire, la défaite du colonialisme, les luttes d’émancipations politiques, sociales et sexuelles”. Il faut revenir au présent. Le terme altermodernisme suggère “une multitude d’alternatives à une voie unique. L’alterglobalisation définit la pluralité des oppositions locales à la standardisation économique, et donc la lutte pour la diversité”.
Reste à illustrer ce propos avec des oeuvres d’artistes, tous “nomades culturels”. Un énorme champignon atomique érigé dans de la vaisselle en Inox par l’Indien Subodh Gupta dit le chambardement nécessaire à l’émergence de cette pensée nouvelle. La suite est plus confuse, et la pensée de Bourriaud s’avère difficile à suivre. Même si on y ressent que le déplacement, dans le temps et l’espace, vaut leitmotiv.
Citons les frappantes peintures inspirées à Franz Ackerman par ses voyages mondialisés, ou le sublime environnement de cristal liquide de Gustav Metzger, octogénaire qui fait chanter les murs en moirures et moisissures. Ou enfin Katie Paterson qui nous met en relation téléphonique avec un glacier en pleine fonte…
“Altermodern” : Tate Triennal 2009, Tate Britain, Millbank, Londres. Jusqu’au 26 avril.
When these performance artists walked into the Tate Modern gallery and relieved themselves on Marcel Duchamp’s urinal exhibit, and argued they were paying homage to the French master, I said Genius.
“Duchamp’s “ready-made” sculpture ridiculed traditional concepts of art and caused a sensation when it first was exhibited in 1917. But rather than drawing accolades and applause, the pair of performance artists were widely dismissed as pranksters.
“In art there are expressionists, cubists and opportunists — that’s the new movement and that’s what they are,” said David Lee, editor of the art magazine The Jackaw.
The Guardian newspaper branded the pair “guerrilla artists,” while the gallery issued a terse statement acknowledging “an incident” but refused further comment. All of which has thrilled Yuan Cai, 43, and Jian Jun Xi, 37, who argued their goal was to fuel artistic debate and “celebrate the spirit of modern art.”
“Duchamp changed art. He gave people a different way of looking at it by putting art in a social context. What we’re doing is also revolutionary,” said Xi, who, like Cai, grew up in China during Mao’s cultural revolution.”
“Jian Jun Xi, performance artist, 46
In November 1999, Two Naked Artists Jump Into Tracey’s Bed made the two Chinese artists – who, in fact, kept their trousers on when they foiled security guards and invaded Tracey Emin’s work in Tate Britain – famous and led many to associate the Chinese with performance art for the first time.
‘I actually established a performing art group called Concept 21 back in 1986,’ says one of the pair, Jian Jun Xi, at his studio in Beijing, which he now calls home. ‘Performance art, until recently an alien concept here, is a good medium to provoke, a good way to express our desire for freedom.’
Concept 21’s first show saw four art students, bandaged in white gauze, pour ink over each other at Beijing University. It was so provocative that it led other students to protest against corruption later that day. It was a time when China was gingerly unbuttoning Mao’s straitjacket and an avant-garde scene had yet to emerge. Before long, Jian Jun migrated to the UK where he met his artistic partner, Chai Yuan. Together they staged some memorable performances such as Running Naked Across Westminster Bridge with Tony Bear (starkers this time); Two Artists Swim Across the Thames, a reinterpretation of Mao’s swimming in the Yangtze; and Soya Source and Tomato Catch-up Fight, commenting on the conflicts between Eastern and Western cultures.
Penis Spirit was perhaps their most shocking work. They pickled a human penis in spirit then drank it with friends in Beijing. ‘It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But what we’d like to do is to push the boundaries,’ Jian Jun explains in fluent English.
Lured by a burgeoning and innovative cultural scene and a more mature and accepting audience, the duo – who although heterosexual are now often referred to as ‘China’s Gilbert and George’ – decided to settle back in China. ‘We feel that we’ve learnt a great deal from the West. It is time to return and continue our journey.'”
by Lijia Zhang
posted on the Gurdian on Sunday 6 July 2008.
Voids is a retrospective of empty exhibitions with nine empty rooms, a radical show that is both empty and full of value to celebrate 50 years of the art of the void since Yves Klein in 1958. Read more about it here
“The idea of exhibiting emptiness is a recurring notion in the history of art over the past fifty or so years, almost to the point of becoming a cliché in the practice of contemporary art. Since the exhibition by Yves Klein – “The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State of Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility” in Paris in 1958, totally empty exhibitions have been the statement of different conceptions of vacuums.
While for Yves Klein it was a way to point out the sensitive state, by contrast it represents the peak of conceptual and minimal art for Robert Barry with “Some places to which we can come, and for a while ‘be free to think about what we are going to do’ (Marcuse)” (1970). It may also result from the desire to fudge the understanding of exhibition spaces, as in the work “The Air-Conditioning Show” from Art & Language (1966-1967), or to empty an institution to modify our experience, as in the work by Stanley Brouwn. It also reflects the will to create the experience of the qualities of an exhibition venue, as with Robert Irwin and his exhibition at the ACE Gallery in 1970, or with Maria Nordman at her exhibition in Krefeld in 1984. Emptiness also represents a form of radicalness, like that created by Laurie Parsons in 1990 at the Lorence-Monk gallery, which announced his renouncement of all artistic practice. For Bethan Huws and his work “Haus Esters Piece” (1993), emptiness means being able to celebrate the museum’s architecture, signifying that art is already there on site and there is no need to add works of art. Emptiness assumes almost a sense of economic demand for Maria Eichhorn who, in leaving her exhibition empty at the Kunsthalle Bern in 2001, helped to devote the budget to the building’s renovation. With “More Silent than Ever” (2006), Roman Ondák, for his part, had the onlooker believing that there is more than what is just left there to be seen.
Commissaires / organisateurs:
Laurent Le Bon, John Armleder, Mathieu Copeland, Gustav Metzger, Mai-Thu Perret, Clive Phillpot”