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August 06 2012

Art and the City. Public Art Festival in Zürich West

Art and the City is a public art festival that runs from 9 June until 23 September 2012 in Zürich West, a district in Zürich (Switzerland) that has undergone a dramatic transformation in the recent years. To experience this up-and-coming city district of Zürich, Art and the City invited more than 40 artists and artist groups from all over the world for an exhibition that includes sculptures, installations, performances, posters and interventions. This video takes you on a rather subjective and selective tour of the exhibition on 1 August, the Swiss National Day (which explains the empty streets and the rubber dinghies).

The exhibition includes artists who have been addressing issues of urban development since the 1970s such as Richard Tuttle, Fred Sandback, Yona Friedman and Charlotte Posenenske, as well as a younger generation of artists such as Christian Jankowski, Oscar Tuazon, Los Carpinteros, and Ai Weiwei.

Art and the City has been initiated by the Public Art Task Force (Arbeitsgruppe Kunst im öffentlichen Raum). The exhibition has been put together by the freelance curator and writer Christoph Doswald.

Art and the City. Public Art Festival in Zürich West. Zürich (Switzerland), August 1, 2012.

PS: As part of the Art and the City Public Art Festival, walking artist Hamish Fulton performed one of his slow walks along the Limmat river, called Limmat Art Walk Zürich 2012.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.
> On YouTube:

Photo set:

Artists and works in order of appearance in the video (for a complete list of the participating artists visit the Art and the City website):

Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs: Kameras (3), 2012
Richard Tuttle: The Pump (2008)
Bettina Pousttchi: Ahead Only, 2012
Franziska Furter: Mojo, 2012
Christian Jankowski: Die Grosse Geste, 2012
Oscar Tuazon: A Lamp, 2012
Charlotte Posenenske: Vierkantrohre Serie D (2), 1967/2012
Pierre Haubensack: Netz, 2011
Not Vital: The No Problem Sculpture, 2012
Paul McCarthy: Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl, 2010
Arcangelo Sassolino: Elisa, 2012
Karsten Födinger: Untitled, 2012
Wilfredo Prieto: Apolitico, 2001
Manfred Pernice: Orion_Renaissance, 2012
Valentin Carron: Ca-Tarac-Ta, 2012
Marjetica Potrc / Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg (OOZE): The Public Space Society, 2012
Frank Stella: De Schouw, 2012
Vaness Billy: Lifting the Earth, 2012
Saâne Afif: The Soapbox of Schiffbauplatz, 2012
Alex Hanimann: Vanessa, 2012
Los Carpinteros: Catedrales, 2012
Thomas Houseago: Hands & Feet III, 2011
Ai Weiwei: Sofa in White, 2011

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April 05 2011

VernissageTV PDF-Magazine No. 16: Tapes, Fur, Tubes, and Mylar

Out now: VernissageTV PDF-magazine No. 16, April 2011.

During a trip to an evening of openings in Paris, VernissageTV had a closer look at the retrospective with the subtle works of French artist Pierrette Bloch at Karsten Greve Gallery. In Fribourg / Switzerland, we had the chance to do an extensive interview with Edith Dekyndt, who had a solo show at Fri-Art Centre d’Art Contemporain, titled “Dieu rend visite à Newton”.

Number 16 also takes a look at the London Art Scene, where a lot of local galleries showed their program at London Art Fair, and Hauser & Wirth opened new spaces with a Martin Creed solo exhibition that featured a dangerously revolving neon sculpture.

In Berlin, VernissageTV met with Agathe Snow whose solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim was showcasing large-scale collages and mobile sculptures. In this show the New York-based Corsican artist Agathe Snow focuses on monuments, trademarks, and historical sites and investigates how they leave their mark on collective memory and national identity.

For the first time, VernissageTV took at trip to Lithuania, to document Zilvinas Kempinas exhibition at Galerija Vartai in Vilnius. Kempinas conceived a show that presented important older and new works.

One of the main themes of the current issue of the magazine is New York. VernissageTV attended several openings such as Ivan Navarro at Paul Kasmin and Tara Donovan at The Pace Gallery. An extensive photo gallery is complemented by a text by FAD Editor at Large Ben Austin, who shares his personal experiences of Armory Week with the readers.

And finally, issue 16 gives an outlook on VernissageTV’s participation in Art Cologne and the video art program that features the artists G.H. Hovagimyan, Christina McPhee, Maria Joao Salema, Raphaele Shirley, Ultra Art Fair, and Lee Wells.

Artists in this issue: Pierrette Bloch, Alexandre Joly, Bettina Pousttchi, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agathe Snow, Edith Dekyndt, Zilvinas Kempinas, and Tara Donovan.

Click image or this link to download the magazine (14 MB) or hit the jump to view in Issuu Reader.

View in Issuu Reader:


January 28 2011

Bettina Pousttchi: World Time Clock / Kunsthalle Basel

Bettina Pousttchi: World Time Clock at Kunsthalle Basel is the first major solo exhibition in Switzerland of works by Berlin-based German-Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi. The show is also the first comprehensive institutional presentation of the artist’s oeuvre. Bettina Pousttchi has gained widespread attention recently with her large-scale, site-specific photographic work “Echo” (2009/2010) that involved covering the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin (Temporary Kunsthalle Berlin) with a digitally manipulated collage of archival images of the German Democratic Republic’s Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic).

On view at Kunsthalle Basel are “Sculpture Project Echo” (2009), a series of color photographs related to the “Echo”-installation; the video work “Conversations in the Studio 3″ (2010); two installations of sculptural works using crowd-control barriers titled “Double Monuments for Flavin and Tatlin” (2010) and “Blackout” (2007-2010); the ongoing “World Time” series (2008-), photographs of clocks on public buildings in different cities of the world; the photographic series “THe Hetley Suite” (2008); the two early video works “Ocularis” (1999) and “Double Empire” (2000).

Bettina Pousttchi was born 1971 in Mainz, Germany. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Pousttchi studied a.o. at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Université de Paris, St. Denis. In 1999/2000 she joined the renowned Whitney Independent Studio Program at the Whitney Museum in New York.

Her solo exhibitions include a.o. the project Echo at the outside facade of Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin over the course of six months (2009/2010); The Hetley Suite, Triangle Gallery, London (2008); Reality Reset, Von der Heydt Museum/Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal (2007); Screen Settings, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2003) and Die Katharina-Show, Museum Morsbroich Leverkusen (2001). Different works by the artist were shown at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2009 as well as in numerous group shows.

Bettina Pousttchi: World Time Clock / Kunsthalle Basel. Opening reception, January 15, 2011.

PS: See also our coverage of the “Echo”-project with an interview with Bettina Pousttchi.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Photo set on Flickr:

From the press release:

Kunsthalle Basel proudly presents the first major solo exhibition in Switzerland of works by Berlin-based German-Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi. Entitled “World Time Clock”, the show is also the first comprehensive institutional presentation of the artist’s multifaceted oeuvre.

Pousttchi, who was born 1971 in Mainz, Germany, has recently received due attention for her large-scale, site-specific photographic work Echo (2009/10). The recent project involved covering all four elevations of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin (Temporary Kunsthalle Berlin), built in 2008 by Adolf Krischanitz and situated in the historical centre of Berlin, with a digitally manipulated collage of archival images of the glass skin and concrete pilasters of the nearby Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic). The Palace, a landmark of late Eastern European modernism, was designed by Heinz Graffunder and completed in 1976, when it became the seat of the German Democratic Republic’s Volkskammer (People’s Chamber, or parliament). For Echo, Pousttchi’s black-and-white, digitally manipulated representation of the Palace temporarily replaced the perfect neutrality of the Temporary Kunsthalle’s white cube. In this “battle of fake facades”, as the artist puts it, the Kunsthalle, the Palace, and Pousttchi’s own work that mediated between the two, all met their inevitable end. Echo was duly taken down after its scheduled six-month-long presentation. The Palace of the Republic, meanwhile, was dismantled in 2009 to make room for the future reconstruction of the 18th-century Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace). Most of the Palace’s steel girders were sold to the United Arab Emirates and used to construct the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which, at 828 meters, is now the tallest building in the world. Finally, the Temporary Kunsthalle closed in August 2010, according to plan.

Sculpture Project Echo (2009), Pousttchi’s series of twentyfour colour photographs created in the six months during which Echo was on view, is a much-layered portrayal of this black-and-white photo installation’s powerful persistence among the iconic buildings that surrounded it, including the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral), the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the GDR-built Fernsehturm (Television Tower, which, at 368 metres, is still the tallest structure in Germany), and the uncovered foundations of the original Berlin City Palace. Nestled in between the prominent edifices that fill Pousttchi’s colour images, advertising banners that simulate facades of yet other buildings-to-be can be glimpsed, including a giant digital rendering of the facade of the planned reconstruction of Schinkelsche Bauakademie (Schinkel’s Academy of Architecture). As can be deduced from this photographic series, Echo served as a kind of fixed reference point for its changing architectural environs. Six images from the Sculpture Project Echo are on view at Kunsthalle Basel.

Also on view is Pousttchi’s Conversations in the Studio 3 (2010), a new video work that serves as a metaphorical bracket for divergent motifs that are brought together in the current show. The video was created in two steps. First, Pousttchi filmed a conversation between herself and French conceptual artist Daniel Buren (1938–), who in the late 1960s began to live and work in situ, and thus gave up on conventional modes of art presentation, in an attempt to evade restrictions imposed by institutionalized art spaces in favour of the nomadic marking of different sites. In seminal essays such as “The Function of the Studio” (1970), Buren provides a pointed critique of the artist’s compromised and fixed position within the art system, in which the studio plays the fundamentally strategic role of a hideout, as well as of a privileged place where the work is produced and presented for the first time. Accordingly, Pousttchi and Buren’s informal conversation touches on many dimensions of the public art project’s supposed publicness—and its constraints.

Pousttchi realized the second phase of Conversations in the Studio 3 ’s development in Warsaw, in the atelier-apartment of the late Polish artist Edward Krasinski (1925–2004), whose exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel took place in 1996. Similar and in kinship to Buren’s trademark vertical stripes on fabric, in 1969 Krasinski decided to suspend any gestural quality of his artwork through the use of the “blue scotch-tape strip”, which he pasted horizontally on walls, objects, and artworks at the height of 130 centimeters. Six years later, in 1975, Buren executed his own work in situ on the windows of Krasinski’s studio-apartment—exactly on the membrane between the studio (located on the top of a housing block in the centre of Warsaw) and the “situation” of the buzzing city around it.

For her new video work, Pousttchi projected her carefully edited conversation with Buren on the walls and furniture in Krasinski’s studio, thereby animating the site with her “conversational” video piece. Her projection also literally built on the presence of the many black-and-white photographs that Krasinski applied to his studio’s walls and objects, which he used to double and mirror spaces and objects. By commemorating visitors with small “photo-souvenirs” and installing works of art in the most unexpected nooks and crannies, Kransinski turned his studio, over many years, into his living-andworking site proper. To that end, Pousttchi inscribed her own investigative work, albeit again only temporarily, in the now petrified shape of the once changing studio. With its three protagonists, the artists Buren, Pousttchi, and Krasinski in discussion, Conversations in the Studio 3 transcends the real time and space of the “function of the studio”. The video work also resembles (or echoes) Echo insofar as the latter can be seen as an attempt to stage a conversation—or a fierce polemic—between three discrete buildings.

Opening and closing Pousttchi’s exhibition on the Kunsthalle’s ground floor are two installations of sculptural works that make use of crowd-control barriers, those sculptures of public infrastructure designed to manage cheering crowds, parades, or demonstrations. In this series of Double Monuments for Flavin and Tatlin (2010), the white-painted and vertical steel barriers have been twisted around and set atop each other to form structures resembling the seminal Monument to the Third International. Designed in 1920 by Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953) to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution, the spiraling, 400-metre-tall high-rise was only finally realized as a model, which was then presented at the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale. Tatlin’s monument to the collective forces of revolution was also invoked in Dan Flavin’s series of thirty-nine sculptures he called “monuments to V. Tatlin” (1964–1990), which featured fluorescent tubes arranged in shapes as various as pyramid and early skyscraper. With a dose of sly humor, Pousttchi’s series pays homage to the champions of, respectively, Constructivism and Minimalism—or perhaps stages a battle, Tatlin vs. Flavin, by piercing the steel structures of her “Double Monuments” with light tubes. Another group of works, Blackout (2007–2010), features five sculptures made of black-painted crowd barriers that appear to collapse languorously on white pedestals, as if mocking the modernist, semi-abstract figures of “reclining women” that populate sculpture gardens of museums of modern art around the world.

In her ongoing World Time series (2008–), from which this exhibition takes its name, Pousttchi photographs clocks on public buildings in different cities of the world—so far the series includes clocks in Shanghai, Istanbul, London, New York, Basel, and Warsaw—that exist in different time zones. The clocks always show the same hour, five minutes to two, thus equating the remote locations through the sameness of the global, unified measure of time. But the theme is also taken up elsewhere: Pousttchi’s Echo installation featured images of two clocks, one set for five to one, the other for five to two, on the Western and Eastern elevation. Moreover, in the public work Basel Time (2010), the artist manipulated the image of the huge clock on the facade of the Hall 2 building at Art Basel’s Messe complex (designed in 1953), and placed it on the facade of Hall 1 (designed in 1926), which is slated for demolition in advance of an upcoming building project by Herzog & de Meuron.

Pousttchi reprises this interest in noting a brief interval and underscoring the gap between real time and the time of taking a picture in the photographic series The Hetley Suite (2008), also on view at Kunsthalle Basel. Furthermore, two early video works in the exhibition, Ocularis (1999) and Double Empire (2000) expand the notion of parallax—from the phenomenon associated with stereoscopic seeing to the doubling and splitting of the film’s very subject. Ocularis features a slow pan out from the looming red-moon-like shape that fills the screen to the almost technical image of two oculars of the microscope; as the drop of blood disappears from view, the viewing device itself became exposed to our own observation. In contrast, and approximately the same 2:43 minutes long, Double Empire introduces the Empire State Building—the titular protagonist of Andy Warhol’s eight-hour classic—reduced to a seemingly endless freefall along the stream of brightly lit windows and dark elevations of the building. Only at the end of the film does the camera reach the tall spire of the Empire—the journey downward turns out to be a climb to the top. These two short epics serve as a coda to the entire exhibition, recapitulating the themes encountered in its other works. To that end, Bettina Pousttchi’s “World Time Clock” is an attempt to grasp something of the internal organization of the world today, in which reality has been replaced by a system of exchangeable appearances, ruled by the “universal clock” of a global economy.

Bettina Pousttchi was born 1971 in Mainz, Germany. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Pousttchi studied a.o. at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Université de Paris, St. Denis, and in 1999/2000 she joined the renowned Whitney Independent Studio Program at the Whitney Museum in New York.
Her solo exhibitions include a.o. the project Echo at the outside facade of Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin over the course of six months (2009/2010); The Hetley Suite, Triangle Gallery, London (2008); Reality Reset, Von der Heydt Museum/Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal (2007); Screen Settings, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2003) and Die Katharina-Show, Museum Morsbroich Leverkusen (2001). Different works by the artist were shown at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2009 as well as in numerous group shows such as The Right to Protest, Museum on the Seam Jerusalem (2010); Mixtapes, Lewis Glucksman Gallery Cork (2010); Why do you resist?, Pori Art Museum Finland (2010); Next Generation, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen (2010); Immortality, TENT Rotterdam (2009); km 500#2, Kunsthalle Mainz (2009); Pièces de Résistance, Kunstmuseum Thun (2009); Oppositions & Dialogues, Kunstverein Hannover (2009); Zeitblick, Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin (2008); Berlin-Buenos Aires Art Exchange, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires (2007); Transparency, Middlebury College Museum of Art (2007); Anstoss Berlin, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (2006); Die Jugend von heute, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt am Main (2006). In 2010 Pousttchi realized the project Basel Time at the outside facade of Art Basel in the context of Art Public Projects.


January 06 2010

Bettina Pousttchi: Echo / Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin / Interview

Just a few months after the last remnants of the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic) were removed, visitors of Schlossplatz can now experience a feeling of déjà vu. Berlin-based artist Bettina Pousttchi’s (*1971) photo installation Echo covers the entire façade of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, evoking memories of the just recently demolished building.

The Palace of the Republic served primarily as the seat of the East German parliament, the Volkskammer, but it also housed two large auditoria, art galleries, a theatre, restaurants and a bowling alley. The building was constructed in 1973 at the site of the former Hohenzollern palace (Stadtschloß), and has now been completely deconstructed to make room for a planned Stadtschloß reconstruction.*

As Bettina Pousttchi points out in this video, Echo is not a true-to-scale or true-to-life reconstruction of this magnificent socialist building. “The motif for the circumferential black-and-white photograph is comprised of 970 individual posters. The depiction, which reduces the historical façade to its essential structural components, is based on archival pictures. By means of image processing and further elements, the artist creates a number of disturbing moments. Digitally generated lines are reminiscent of CCTV cameras or early TV images – or of a furtive view through the slats of a lowered blind. With this mise-en-scène, Pousttchi reflects on the individual’s ability to remember and also on the suggestive qualities of the medium of photography. As an allegedly simulated historical architecture, Echo directly references the changes in the surrounding urban landscape.” (Excerpt from the press release). The installation is on view until February 28, 2010.

Bettina Pousttchi: Echo. Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin. September 24, 2009. Video: Gürsoy Dogtas.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.
> Click this link to watch Quicktime video in new movie window.

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