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April 10 2013

VernissageTV Classics (r3): Interview with Luigi Colani (2007)

Luigi Colani is one of the most successful and controversial designers. The Swiss-born German industrial designer is known for his organic forms that he applied to products such as cars, airplanes, trucks, cameras, and furniture. In 2007, VernissageTV met Luigi Colani at his studio in Karlsruhe (Germany). In this interview, Colani looks back at his career and talks about the state of design.

In this excerpt of our 2007 interview with Luigi Colani, the designer talks about his beginnings as a designer. The complete interview is available after the break.

This is another segment in our series r3 that highlights the treasures of VernissageTV’s huge archive. R3 is a series of VernissageTV classics, now re-mastered, re-edited and reissued in High Definition. Click here for the complete list of videos. Click here for the original post. For more videos featuring Luigi Colani, click here! A re-mastered and re-edited version of our coverage of Luigi Colani’s exhibition at the Design Museum in London will be published in August, 2013.

Karlsruhe, March 29, 2007. Camera: Arno Dietsche. Interview / editing: Heinrich Schmidt.

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Complete interview (43:05 Min.):


March 22 2013

Julius Eastman: Gay Guerrilla at Kunsthalle Basel / Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc: Songs for a Mad King

Gay Guerrilla (1979) is a composition for four pianos by African-American composer Julius Eastman (1940-1990). Concert played by the pianists Faristamo Susi, Andriy Dragan, Benoit Hennecart and Lukas Rickli on the occasion of the exhibition Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc: Songs for a Mad King at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland on March 16, 2013. The above video is an excerpt, the full-length video is available after the break.

The exhibition Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc: Songs for a Mad King at Kunsthalle Basel runs until March 24, 2013.

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> On YouTube:

Video with the complete concert (32:00):



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July 20 2012

dOCUMENTA (13): Interview with Documenta Expert Dr. Harald Kimpel

Documenta in Kassel (Germany) is one of the most important exhibitions for contemporary art in the world. Artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode founded it in 1955, as part of the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Show) in Kassel. It is not unusual that each Documenta has caused controversy. The 2012 edition, dOCUMENTA (13), is no exception. But despite – or maybe precisely because of – the discussions around it, each Documenta is even more successful than the previous one. But what is the reason for the success?

VernissageTV met with Documenta expert Dr. Harald Kimpel on one of the first days of dOCUMENTA (13) in front of the Fridericianum, one of the main exhibition spaces of Documenta. The art historian, author and curator is the authority when it comes to the history of the Documenta in Kassel. We wanted to know: What do you think of the concept of this year’s Documenta? Is Documenta still relevant? What is the future of Documenta? In this conversation with art critic and art historian Dr. Bettina Krogemann, Harald Kimpel talks about the Documenta’s ever expanding concept of art, the uniqueness of this art event, the competition it is facing, and the possible future of this world art show.

The video above is an excerpt. The video interview in full-length is available after the jump. dOCUMENTA (13) runs until September 16, 2012.

dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (Germany). Dr. Bettina Krogemann in conversation with Dr. Harald Kimpel. June 8, 2012.

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Harald Kimpel was born in 1950 in Kassel. He studied Art Education at the College of Fine Arts / University of Kassel and Art History, Classical Archaeology and European Ethnology at the University of Marburg. In 1996 he graduated with a thesis on the history of the Documenta.

Since 1980, Harald Kimpel works as a researcher at the cultural department of the city of Kassel in various capacities, including as Head of Exhibition Department and in the Department of Cultural Promotion and Counseling. Harald Kimpel is also a member of the Deutsche Werkbund Hessen (DWH).

As an author, Harald Kimpel has written essays and monographs about Documenta and many other topics. As a curator he has conceived exhibitions such as: Art in Advertising (Kassel, 1982); Aversion / acceptance. Public art and public opinion. Outdoor installations of Documenta-past (Kassel, 1992); and Skinscapes. The art of the body surface (Marburg, 2009).

Biographical information from: Wikipedia, keyword “Harald Kimpel“, version July 5, 2012, 12:16

Complete interview with Harald Kimpel (13:17 min.). The interview was held in German language. Hit the cc in the video player’s menu to activate the English subtitles:

dOCUMENTA (13) Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev about the show (excerpt from the Documenta-website):

The thirteenth edition of documenta involves more than 300 participants. The exhibition in Kassel is presented at eight main venues, with many other projects located at sites throughout the center of the city.  Over the coming weeks an extensive program of lectures, seminars, congresses, films, and poetry readings, as well as a writers’ residency and programs initiated by dOCUMENTA (13) participants, will be presented.
dOCUMENTA (13) is physically and conceptually sited in four locations—Kassel, Kabul, Alexandria/Cairo, and Banff.
dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary. dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth. This vision is shared with, and recognizes, the shapes and practices of knowing of all the animate and inanimate makers of the world, including people.


July 13 2012

Thomas Bayrle at dOCUMENTA (13) / Interview

One of the largest rooms of dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated exclusively to the work of German artist Thomas Bayrle. Bayrle, born in 1937 in Berlin, has already participated in Documenta 3 in 1964 and in Documenta 6 in 1977 in Kassel (Germany). Nearly 50 years after his first participation Thomas Bayrle is now celebrating his impressive comeback to one of the most important art events of the world. In this conversation with Dr. Bettina Krogemann, Thomas Bayrle talks about the works he is showing at dOCUMENTA (13). The video above is an excerpt. The interview in full-length is available after the jump.

Framed by two monumental works on the wall, the sounds and movements of 8 kinetic works, draw the visitors into their spell. These sculptures are engines that are cut open. If you ever wanted to know how the motor of a Porsche 911, Moto Guzzi bike or the radial engine of an airplane works: It can be seen here. So the works that Thomas Bayrle presents here are appealing both for art lovers as well as for technology enthusiasts. Bayrle has great respect for the skills of the engineers:

“The engineer is a creative profession that deals with matter in a very real way, much like a doctor. I see this as an incentive, we who make art must strive for precision in our thinking and acting.”

Dr. Bettina Krogemann in conversation with Documenta-artist Thomas Bayrle. Kassel (Germany), June 8, 2012.

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Complete interview (12:37 min.):

For Thomas Bayrle the machines are compressed cathedrals, the beauty and complexity of a cathedral in a small space. Bayrle’s kinetic sculptures at dOCUMENTA (13) draw on works he created in 1966, when he built machines. This time, he combines the engines that are cut open with soundtracks that he recorded in a church. He merges the rosary prayer with the engine noise and composes a sound jelly, as he calls it, from their uniform and repetitive sound.

“In fact, I think, in short, rosary prayer and machines belong together. In general: Meditation and machines belong together. It’s the rhythm. Because, our heart has a rhythm, everything we make is serial and the serial sustains us physically, mentally, but also the machines that are actually a reflection of our body.”

Rhythm, repetition, and the aesthetic principle of the serial have always been an essential element of Thomas Bayrle’s work. In the tradition of artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Sigmar Polke, Thomas Bayrle draws his motives and themes from the world of goods and the consumer society. Bayrle was trained as a weaver and then studied at the Arts and Crafts School in Offenbach. He learned the technique of lithography and etching. From 1975 to 2005 he was professor at Städelschule, State College of Fine Arts in Frankfurt/Main (Germany). Thomas Bayrle lives in Frankfurt/Main, where he was Professor at the Städelschule (1975–2005). His solo exhibitions have included MACBA, Barcelona (2009), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2008–09), MMK, Frankfurt/Main (2006), and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt/Main (2002). Bayrle has participated in the Biennale di Venezia (2009, 2003) and documenta 6 and 3 (1977, 1964).


June 29 2012

Artist Talk: Hans-Ulrich Obrist in Conversation with Philippe Parreno at Fondation Beyeler

On the occasion of Philippe Parreno’s solo exhibition at Fondation Beyeler, the Fondation organized an artist talk with the French artist, who became known for his work that combines different media such as film, sculpture, performance, sound and text. At Fondation Beyeler, Philippe Parreno presents two new films, C.H.Z. (“Continuously Habitable Zones”) and Marilyn, which are accompanied by a choreography of sound and images that includes two of his typical Marquees, a room with drawings, a water lilies installation created by sound waves, and a DVD with a soundtrack by Arto Lindsay that erases itself after a one play.

In this conversation with the curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno talks about the current exhibition at Fondation Beyeler, future projects, and his work in general.

The above video is an excerpt. The full-length video (45:53 min.) is available after the jump. Coming soon: an interview with Philippe Parreno and an exhibition walk-through with statements by Sam Keller, curator Michiko Kono, and Philippe Parreno.

Artist Talk: Hans-Ulrich Obrist in Conversation with Philippe Parreno at Fondation Beyeler. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen (Switzerland), June 15, 2012.

PS: The videos are also available at the Fondation Beyeler’s website and YouTube channel.

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> On YouTube:

Complete Artist Talk (45:53 min.):


June 25 2012

Vladimir Tatlin Retrospective at Museum Tinguely in Basel

The painter, architect and designer Vladimir Tatlin is one of the most important figures in the Russian avant-garde art movement. The Tatlin retrospective entitled Tatlin. New Art for a New World at Museum Tinguely in Basel (Switzerland) shows paintings, sculptures, objects, and his most famous work, the giant tower The Monument to the Third International.

The above video provides you with an exhibition walk-through on the occasion of the press preview. We had also the opportunity to speak with Dmitry Dimakov, head of the Tatlin workshop Tatlin’s Method – Culture of Material in Penza (Russia). In the video interview that you find after the break Dmitry Dimakov provides us with an introduction and overview of the life and work of Vladimir Tatlin.

The retrospective Tatlin. New Art for a New World at Museum Tinguely runs until October 14, 2012.

Vladimir Tatlin Retrospective at Museum Tinguely in Basel. Press Preview, Basel (Switzerland), June 5, 2012.

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Interview with Dmitry Dimakov, Chief of the workshop Tatlin’s Method – Culture of Material. In Russian language with German translation by Anna Szech (Scientific Assistant, Museum Tinguely). With English subtitles (click on the “cc” symbol in the menu bar of the video player) (14:10 min.):

Press release:

This year the Museum Tinguely in Basel is dedicating its large summer exhibition to one of the most important figures of the Russian avant-garde: Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953). It is now almost twenty years since the last comprehen-sive retrospective to be devoted to this radically innovative artist. The presented works will include early paintings, counter-reliefs that reach out into the surrounding space, reconstructions of his revolutionary tower, and the flying machine Letatlin. The exhibition is rounded off with examples of his work for the theatre. The œuvre of this outstanding artist from the watershed period at the beginning of the twentieth century will be represented in over one hundred masterpieces, mostly on loan from major collections in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Vladimir Tatlin began his career as a seaman. Until 1913 his artistic activities were limited exclusively to painting and drawing. Interested in the traditional fields of icon-painting and folk art, he later transferred his attention to the most modern avant-garde trends in Russia and Western Europe, more precisely Paris. His entire later work is founded on painting. The exhibition will show a comprehensive selection of his early paintings with their bold expanses of colour, rhythmic curves, and striking use of dark and light outlines. In these eye-catching works Tatlin achieved a highly original synthesis of the Russian tradition and the French avant-garde.

In the year 1914, Tatlin changed from being an avant-garde painter to being a revolutionary artist: there was already a sense of what was to come in 1917. Only little has been preserved of his painterly reliefs and the counter-reliefs. These works, produced before the October Revolution, constitute his most radical and far-reaching contribution to modern art. In the exhibition the few still existing originals from Moscow and St Petersburg are complemented with a representative selection of the reconstructions made on the basis of photographs, thus shedding light on this crucial aspect in the history of art. Tatlin’s counter-reliefs, with which he aimed to effect a total break with the bourgeois art world in all its forms, are to be understood as a “contre-attaque” in the sense of an increase in energy. As Konstantin Umansky wrote in 1920, “Tatlinism” claimed that the picture as such was dead: “The flat canvas is too restricted for what is three-dimensional.”

In Tatlin’s words of 1920: “We no longer believe in the eye: we are subordinating the eye to the sense of touch.” His counter-reliefs shook painting to its foundations and at the same time created a new understanding of artistic material. In them Tatlin worked like a poet with his materials, which he liberated from their function of representation. Characteristic of his art is a finely calculated economy of means. Tatlin’s counter-reliefs all have something of the nature of a happening. They give an impression of floating in a state of high tension. Rather than standing on any particular point, they are suspended in a rigging that replaces the plinth of earlier statues.

The compositional principle contains a clear anti-static component: what is presented is a game between gravity and the negation of gravity. These works are all about distance, about the space in between, a space that is at once real and yet situated in the realm of the imagination. In literally material terms, Tatlin shifts his art into the sphere of the here-and-now; by experimenting with sculptural forms he generates the present.

Revolution, architecture and utopia –Tatlin’s tower
Few twentieth-century works of art have acquired such a legendary status as Tatlin’s projected Monument to the Third International of 1919–20, which was to have been 400 metres tall. For various reasons – Civil War, lack of material resources, and the technological limitations of the time – it was never realized. The monument – set parallel to the earth’s axis with four inner bodies rotating each on its own axis at various speeds in accordance with cosmological rhythms and laws – would have been the seat of the hierarchically and justly organized government of a new social order. The rotating spatial bodies of Tatlin’s “world machine” are indicative of revolution in both senses of the word. In 1920 Nikolai Punin praised the design as “an international event within the world of art” and saw it as “the organic synthesis of the principles of architecture, sculpture and painting.” Had it been built, the tower would have represented the logical extension of the principles of time and space developed in Tatlin’s counter-reliefs, and would have made possible a new experience of space in certain senses not dissimilar to that of flying. Tatlin’s tower project acted as a catalyst in the discussion conducted by figures such as Leon Trotsky and Anatoly Lunacharsky about how life, art and the state were to function in the young post-revolutionary Soviet Union; now it ranks as an inspirational and interpretational work of the highest order. In the course of the rediscovery of Tatlin’s œuvre since the 1960s, the lost model of the tower has been reconstructed in a number of different variants. The exhibition in Basel is to juxtapose the two most outstanding examples – from Moscow and Paris – and bring them into dialogue. This spectacular presentation will generate illuminating insights into the way Tatlin’s work has been received and will help visitors to understand the factors that led to its creation.

The flight of the Letatlin
The 1920s saw Tatlin engaging in a search for new dimensions in human flight. In 1929/32 he gave expression to the dreams of a collectively regulated society with his visionary flying machine Letatlin. With his strong penchant for mysticism, Tatlin considered that flying was a kind of primordial human experience lost in the course of evolution and wished to reappropriate it for modern man. Letatlin – a flying machine displaying a remarkable synthesis of art, technology and utopia – can be regarded as the culmination and end result of the exploration of the scope and limits of sculpture that the artist began in Tsarist times with his counter-reliefs and raised onto a monumental scale with the revolutionary tower model. Tatlin’s highly suggestive flying sculpture can be interpreted variously as a metaphor for acceleration, a vehicle for extending the imagination, or a deus ex machina of modernism. However we interpret it, Tatlin’s dream of flying was to remain unfulfilled – even today, Letatlin has not yet left the ground.

The theatre as the stage of the new world
Tatlin had a life-long interest in theatre. He was a passionate admirer of Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchman, with which his own life had certain elements in common. Tatlin took its gripping musical sea- and soul-scapes and attempted to match them with a late Romantic Rayonist painted equivalent, taking tone colour and translating it into colour combinations full of drama and life. The peak of Tatlin’s creative work for the theatre came in 1923 with his staging of Velimir Chlebnikov’s futuristic super saga Zangezi. Tatlin decided “to juxtapose the word constructions with a material construction.” For Tatlin the linguistic material of poetry and the materials of visual art were two articulations of the same world energy. The fascination of his avant-gardistic experiment with Zangezi lay in the synesthetic correspondences he discovered between sounds, colours, textures and light.

Today Tatlin still retains his power to fascinate because his work was always done in the light of the total social context and with the intention of bringing about change. Furthermore, almost a century ago, he paved the way for currents that have still not lost their relevance and power to inspire in the field of contemporary art. Tatlin had no fear of stepping beyond the bounds of his field and liked to work collectively. He was a master of inter-disciplinarity and synthesis, in the art of bringing things and materials together, and of techniques and forms of presentation that were entirely unprecedented in his day.

From 6 June to 14 October the Tinguely Museum in Basel will show over one hundred works on loan from Moscow (Tretyakov-Gallery; A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow; State Archive for Literature and Art; Schusev Museum of Architecture; Museum of the Moscow Art Theatre), St. Petersburg (Russian Museum), Kostroma (Museum for History, Architecture and the Visual Arts), Wiesbaden (Museum Wiesbaden), Friedrichshafen (Zeppelin Museum), Vienna (Austrian Theatre Museum), Paris (Centre Georges Pompidou), London (Annely Juda Fine Art; Grosvenor Gallery), Thessaloniki (State Museum of Contemporary Art – Costakis Collection), Penza (Russia), and Athens.

Curator and Catalogue
The exhibition curator is Gian Casper Bott. The retrospective exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue that will present the life and work of Vladimir Tatlin in the light of the latest research, with contributions by Simon Baier, Gian Casper Bott, Dmitrii Dimakov, Jürgen Harten, Yevgraf Kipatop, Nathalie Leleu, Maria Lipatova, Anna Szech, David Walsh, and Roland Wetzel.


June 19 2012

Bernhard Leitner: Sound Suit / Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Art 43 Basel

At this year’s Art Basel art fair, the Vienna-based gallery Georg Kargl Fine Arts showed a unique piece of art that was created by the Austrian sound sculptor Bernhard Leitner. The artwork is titled Sound Suit (Ton-Anzug) and was realized by Leitner in 1975. The Sound Suit is a jumpsuit with four loudspeakers attached to it. The sound travels between the speakers and creates an audio sculpture.

On the occasion of the presentation of Bernhard Leitner’s Sound Suit, VernissageTV had the chance to speak with the artist. In this conversation with Dr. Bettina Krogemann, Bernhard Leitner talks about the concept of the Ton-Anzug and his work in general.

For more information on the artist and a video tour of his major retrospective at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2008), visit Bernhard Leitner: Sound Space Sculpture / Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.

Bernhard Leitner: Sound Suit / Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Art 43 Basel. Basel (Switzerland), June 13, 2012.

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June 05 2012

Robert Rauschenberg: Cardboards and Gluts / Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Last month, VernissageTV had the privilege to be in invited to see a private presentation at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York. The presentation at Robert Rauschenberg’s former studio in Manhattan had its focus on two fascinating aspects of Rauschenberg’s oeuvre: the Cardboards series and the Gluts series.

We were not only able to document the exhibition, but two renowned Robert Rauschenberg experts, Susan Davidson (curator at Guggenheim and RRF Board member) and David White (curator at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Board member) even gave us an exclusive tour of the presentation and provided us with fascinating insights into Robert Rauschenberg’s life and work.

The above video is an excerpt of the tour, the video with the complete walk-through with Susan Davidson and David White is available after the break.

Prior to the tour, we had also the opportunity to speak with artist, sculptor and photographer Jean-Marc Bustamante and Pratt Institute Graduate Julia Monk about Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardboards Series. The interviews with Jean-Marc Bustamante and Julia Monk are available after the break.

We had also the opportunity to speak with the Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Christy MacLear. In a video interview that we will publish soon, Christy MacLear provides us more information about the Foundation’s history, mission, grants and programs, and future presentations and activities.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation: Cardboards and Gluts. Guided tour with Susan Davidson (curator at Guggenheim and RRF Board member) and David White (curator at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Board member). The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York City, May 18/21, 2012.

PS: See also: VernissageTV Classics (r3): Robert Rauschenberg and Darryl Pottorf at Jamileh Weber (2006).

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Robert Rauschenberg has been very productive and created an oeuvre that is innovative and prolific. He is one of the most famous artists, but despite of that, some aspects of his work are not very known, even to experts. The Cardboards series is one of them. Rauschenberg had his breakthrough with the Combines, works that are neither sculpture nor painting, but a combination of a variety of objects, materials, and artistic techniques. The Cardbaord works that he produced after he moved from New York to Captiva Island in Florida in 1970 present a continuation of that body of work, but instead of using all sorts of materials, Robert Rauschenberg confined himself to discarded cardboard boxes.

Complete walk-through with Susan Davidson and David White (36:23 min.):

In the 1980s Robert Rauschenberg turned to a new material: metal. The Gluts series was inspired by a visit to Houston, when the Texas economy was suffering a receccsion due to a surplus of supply (glut) in the oil market. Back in his studio in Captiva, he began to collect gas-station signs and other industrial parts and transformed them into wall reliefs and freestanding sculptures.

Jean-Marc Bustamante, Artist, Sculptor and Photographer, talks about Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardboards Series (7:21 min.):

Julia Monk, Graduate from Pratt Institute, talks about Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardbaords Series (4:28 min.):

Photo set:


May 25 2012

Freitag – Out of the Bag. Retrospective at Museum of Design Zurich

The story of the iconic Freitag bag made of used truck tarpaulin began in Zurich (Switzerland) in 1993, when the two brothers and keen cyclists Daniel and Markus Freitag were looking for a practical and waterproof messenger bag. As they couldn’t find one that suited their needs, they just produced one themselves. The inspiration came from the trucks that passed by in front of their students flat. First the Freitag brothers sewed together bags made of used truck tarps, car seat belts and bicycle inner tubes just for themselves and their friends. But the uniquely designed bag became popular and even cult.

Today the Freitag brothers and their company are a both a prominent part of the urban street scene as well as a model of the (not only Swiss) creative industry. Time for the Museum of Design Zurich (Museum für Gestaltung Zürich) to have a closer look at company and their individual recycled freeway bags. The first Freitag retrospective called Freitag – Out of the Bag takes a look behind the scenes and spotlights the history, products, manufacture, organization, marketing of Freitag. Rather than just showing the bags, which can be seen in the streets of cities all over the world, the show presents material from the company archive, observations in film, prototypes, and a number of interviews.

VernissageTV met up with Daniel Freitag and the curator of the exhibition Freitag – Out of the Bag, Renate Menzi to talk about the company and the exhibition, and to follow them on a tour through the show. The above video is a video summary of the exhibition and the interviews. The complete videos can be viewed after the break. Daniel Freitag speaks about the secret of Freitag’s success, their design philosophy, what inspires them, how the brothers work together, the essence of a Freitag product, sustainability, different tastes across the world, future projects – and why he wears a beard. Curator Renate Menzi provides us with an introduction to the exhibition, and points to two different scenarios for the future of the company. The exhibition Freitag – Out of the Bag at Museum of Design Zurich runs until July 29, 2012.

Freitag – Out of the Bag. Retrospective at the Museum of Design Zurich (Museum für Gestaltung Zürich). Interview with Daniel Freitag and Renate Menzi (Museum of Design), Zürich / Switzerland, May 9, 2012.

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> On YouTube.

The Freitag brothers won numerous awards with their bags and their company. This is a selection of the distinctions awarded: In 1997 they won Distinction, Design Preis Schweiz; in 2003 the Top Cat model is accepted into the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA); in 2003 the Freitag brothers won Gold for the F-CUT by the Art Directors Club Switzerland in the category of Electronic Publishing; in 2007 they won the Golden Pencil for Environmental Design / Retail & Services, D&AD Global Awards; in 2009 they received the Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany: Gold for the F-Shop in Zurich in the Product Design category; in 2011 they won the 6th Zurich entrepreneur award for innovative, sustainable and commercially successful work.

Interview with Daniel Freitag (19:01 Min.):

Almost twenty years after the launch of the first product, the original bag is still the best-selling, but is complemented by additional lines and products. There are 40 models of the Freitag Fundamentals range, and 17 Freitag Reference models. The Freitag brothers expect this year’s sale to reach about 300,000 items. The company employs a staff of 130, and processes around 400 metric tons of truck tarpaulins. The Freitag products are sold through 400 sales partners, the online shop, and nine of its own F-Stores in Berlin, Cologne, Davos, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Vienna, including one across the New Museum in New York and their spectacular flagship store in Zürich, built from shipping containers.

Künstlergespräch mit Daniel Freitag und Kuratorin Renate Menzi (in German language) (58:02 Min.):

Each Freitag bag is made from original truck tarpaulins of different colors, markings and contours, thus every Freitag product is a one-off. Another key element of the design is the green aspect, the use of second-hand material. This is also the biggest constraint on growth: Finding enough suitable tarpaulin for the products.

Photo set on Flickr:


May 14 2012

Jeff Koons at Fondation Beyeler

Fondation Beyeler in Riehen near Basel, Switzerland, presents a large solo exhibition with works by Jeff Koons. In collaboration with the artist, the museum decided to show series of works that are central to Jeff Koons’ oeuvre: The New, Banality, and Celebration.

Jeff Koons’ early period-series The New consists of ready-made-like cleaning appliances, symbols of newness and purity. Banality comprises traditionally crafted sculptures in porcelain and wood. With Celebration, Keff Koons produced high-gloss steel sculptures and large-format paintings. Among the works on display are Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988); Ushering in Banality (1988); New Hoover Convertible (1980); Winter Bears (1988); and Balloon Dog (Red) (1994-2000). The giant Split Rocker is installed in the garden of the museum.

In this video we walk through the exhibition on the occasion of the media reception and Dr. Theodora Vischer (Senior Curator at Large, Fondation Beyeler) gives us a short introduction to the show. Hit the jump for the full-length version of the video, an introduction to the exhibition in German language, and the Jeff Koons lecture at Fondation Beyeler.

Jeff Koons at Fondation Beyeler is the first exhibition ever devoted by a Swiss museum to the American artist Jeff Koons. The show runs until September 2, 2012.

Jeff Koons at Fondation Beyeler. Press Preview and introduction by Dr. Theodora Vischer (Senior Curator at Large, Fondation Beyeler). Riehen / Basel, Switzerland, May 11, 2012.

PS: See also our report on Jeff Koons’ exhibition at Versailles with Jeff Koons talking about his work.

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> On YouTube:

Full-length video (12:55 Min.):

Introduction to the exhibition in German language (9:50 Min.):

Jeff Koons Lecture at Fondation Beyeler (1:33:09):


May 10 2012

Maya Bösch & Christian Lutz: Høpe / Centre de la Photographie Genève

The exhibition Høpe ou comment armer ses jeux at the Centre de la Photographie Genève is an installation the brings together photography, scenography and sounds. The show emerged from the collaboration between stage director Maya Bösch (Compagnie Sturmfrei) and photographer Christian Lutz. The photographic installation after a stage production aims to question our society, our responsibility by showing the underground, and the world of the forgotten.

In November 2011, Maya Bösch, with her Compagnie Sturmfrei, realized Howl, the Allen Ginsberg poem at the Biennial Charleroi Danses (B). The photographer Christian Lutz accompanied the various stages of rehearsal and performance. During his trip to Las Vegas last December, Christian Lutz discovered parallels between the two juxtaposed realities: life and theater. This video provides you with a walk-through of the exhibition. A video interview with Maya Bösch is available after the jump.

Maya Bösch & Christian Lutz: Høpe / Centre de la Photographie Genève. Opening, May 3, 2012 (Nuit des Bains). Video by Daniel Barney.

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Interview with Maya Bösch (16:08 Min.):

Press release (in French language):

Installation issue d’un processus de création scénique

Vernissage le 3 mai dès 18h à l’occasion de la Nuit des Bains.

De janvier 2011 à juin 2012, Maya Bösch initie un processus de création autour de la « Beat Generation ». Elle collabore avec plusieurs artistes sur des formes différentes de représentations : atelier, lecture, performance, création. En novembre dernier, elle crée avec sa compagnie sturmfrei, Howl, le poème phare d’Allen Ginsberg à la Biennale Charleroi Danses (B). Le photographe Christian Lutz accompagne ces différentes étapes de répétition et de représentation. Lors de son voyage à Las Vegas en décembre dernier, Christian en sort des parallèles entre deux réalités et les juxtapose : la vie et le théâtre.

Comment armer ses yeux face à l’autocratie économique et politique ? Comment armer ses yeux face aux évènements quotidiens ? Comment armer ses yeux face au pouvoir ? Comment armer ses yeux face à soi-même ? Ne pas voir pour mieux voir ?

Cette installation met en scène deux espaces qui se distinguent autant dans la forme que dans le fond. La première pièce restitue la diversité du processus de création et documente en noir et blanc le souvenir de ce théâtre de la pauvreté. La deuxième pièce compose en couleur des nouvelles réalités, croise théâtre et vie et ouvre ainsi à des nouvelles perspectives et interrogations encore inconnues.

Une ode à ceux dans l’ombre, un carburant pour le demain.

L’artiste Karelle Ménine s’entretient régulièrement avec la metteure en scène Maya Bösch : une réflexion en permanent mouvement, contradictoire, et éclairante sur l’art en train de se faire sera présentée ici.

Concept : Maya Bösch / Photographie : Christian Lutz / Graphisme : Pablo Lavalley / Son : Karelle Ménine / Technique : Jean-Michel Broillet et Vanessa Bianchini

Production : cie sturmfrei / Coproduction : Centre de la Photographie Genève, GRÜ/Transthéâtre Genève / Partenaires de Création : GRÜ/Transthéâtre Genève, Le Manège de Mons (B), Biennale Charleroi Danses (B), Pro Helvetia, La Loterie Romande, Ville de Genève-Département de la culture et du sport, Canton de Genève-Département de l’instruction publique

Distribution et Remerciements :
Acteurs de la cie sturmfrei : Fred Jacquot-Guillarmod, Pascal Gravat, Pascal Merighi, Boubacar Samb, Nicolas Leresche, Roberto Garieri / Invitée spéciale : Noemi Lapzeson / Acteurs du Théâtre National de Bretagne (F) : Ambre Kahan, Duncan Evenou, Karine Piveteau, Marina Tek, Nathan Bernat, Romain Brosseau, Sarah Amrous / Guitaristes : Vincent Hänni, Jean-Marc Montera / Scénographe : Thibault Vancranenbroeck / Lumières : Colin Legras / Son : Rudy Decelière / Dramaturgie : Timo Kirez / Assistante mise en scène : Sophie Martin-Achard / Régie générale : David Kretonic / Special Guest : Sofie Kokaj


March 27 2012

Josephine Meckseper: Manhattan Oil Project, New York City

Josephine Meckseper: Manhattan Oil Project is a public art project near Times Square in New York, produced by the Art Production Fund. In this video, the founders of Art Production Fund, Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal, explain why Meckseper has installed oil pumps in the middle of Manhattan, and provide us with an introduction to her work. The above video is an excerpt. In the full-length video after the break, Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal also talk about the Art Production Fund: the basic concept, and past, current and future projects.

PS: For more info on Josephine Meckseper see also: Josephine Meckseper / Migros Museum, Zürich.

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> On YouTube:

Complete video (15:13 Min.): ...

March 16 2012

Dawn Kasper: Performance at Whitney Biennial 2012

This year’s Whitney Biennial has a strong focus on performance. One of the performances that took place on the VIP opening on February 28, 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art was titled This Could Be Something If I Let It by Dawn Kasper with the support of the band Lady Noise (Kelly Coats, Helga Fassonaki, Kathleen Kim, Gabie Strong). Additional performances take place on May 4 and 25, at 7 pm.

For her participation in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, Los Angeles-based artist Dawn Kasper has set up a studio in one of the museum’s spaces. The room is filled the personal belongings of the artist, including a tennis racket that spins on a motor, a bed, musical instruments, tv sets with Buster Keaton films running on it, and many things more. Dawn Kasper doesn’t sleep at the gallery, but during the opening hours of the museum she talks with visitors, performs music and creates other works. This installation or “living sculpture” as it is also called by the museum, is part of her ongoing “Nomadic Studio Practice Experiment”. Dawn Kasper lives and works in Los Angeles. Recently, she participated in the Trespass Parade in downtown Los Angeles.

The above video is an excerpt. Follow the jump for the complete video (19:27 min.).

Dawn Kasper: This Could Be Something If I Let It. Performance, VIP Opening Whitney Biennial 2012. New York / USA, February 28, 2012.

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


February 08 2012

Interview with Art Cologne Director Daniel Hug

After many years in which the tradition-rich Art Cologne was loosing more and more of its importance, the world’s oldest art fair not only seems to be back on the right track but also gaining momentum. Since Daniel Hug took over the director position at Art Cologne, the criticism has been muted and the press is talking about the miracle of the Rhine. For this year’s edition that runs from 18th to 22nd April 2012, Daniel Hug is breaking new grounds by collaborating with the New Art Dealers Alliance, who already runs a fair in Miami. Thus, Art Cologne 2012 will see the collaboration between two independent fairs, Art Cologne and NADA Cologne.

VernissageTV met with Daniel Hug in Zürich to talk about the collaboration with NADA. We wanted to know how this collaboration with NADA came about, the hopes he puts in it, and how NADA Cologne is integrated in the overall concept of Art Cologne, both from a strategic point of view as well as regarding the fair layout on site. But one and a half years after our first interview with Daniel Hug as Director of Art Cologne, we also wanted to know how the fair has developed since then regarding attendance and sales, and his goals for the next years. He explains why he discontinued the Open Space section, which played an important role for the fair during the last years. He talks about why he stopped Art Cologne Palma de Mallorca when he took over Art Cologne in 2008, and where he sees the future of art fairs in general and Art Cologne in particular. Finally, Daniel Hug let’s us know what to expect from the 2012-edition of Art Cologne – 46. Internationaler Kunstmarkt in Cologne, Germany, and hints at some of the highlights of the upcoming fair, the participating galleries and the supporting program.

The above video is an excerpt. Watch the interview in full-length with English and German subtitles after the break.

Interview with Art Cologne Director Daniel Hug. Caféteria Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich / Switzerland, January 20, 2012.

PS: See also: NADA Director Heather Hubbs on NADA and the Collaboration with Art Cologne.

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

Complete interview (16:33 min.)
(Hit the “cc” in the control bar of the video player for subtitles in English or German language.)

February 03 2012

Yüksel Arslan: Artures / Exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich

Until recently, Paris-based Turkish artist Yüksel Arslan was almost unknown to a broader public. The Kunsthalle Zurich is now presenting for the first time a selection of over 200 works since 1959 outside of Turkey. The exhibition has its focus on Arslan’s “Artures”, works on paper using a unique technique with special paints.

Yüksel Arslan was born in 1933. He left Turkey in 1962 for political reasons and resettled in Paris. Since then, he has been creating a unique oeuvre that is based on his preoccupation with philosophical, sociological, and artistic literature. Despite the presentation of his work at The Drawing Center in New York in 2008 and his huge retrospective at the Santralistanbul Museum in Istanbul in 2009, Yüksel Arslan is still an insider’s tip. Arslan works in his apartment, which reportedly looks more like a library.

On display are eight different groups of Yüksel Arslan’s Artures: The series “L’Homme I”, “L’Homme II”, “L’Homme III”, “Le Capital”, “Influances I”, “Influances II”, “Autoartures”, and “Journales”. The Influences work groups are dedicated to famous figures, such as Henry David Thoreau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Bataille, Kurt Schwitters, and Bertolt Brecht.

Arslan uses special paints that he creates himself by mixing pigments with rather unconventional ingredients such as body fluids, vegetable extracts, petals, grass, oil or charcoal.

Following the presentation at Kunsthalle Zürich (until April 9, 2012), the exhibition will be shown at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunstverein Hamburg.

Yüksel Arslan: Artures / Exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich at Museum Bärengasse, Zürich / Switzerland. Opening reception, January 27, 2012.

PS: Complete video after the break.

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Complete video (18.28 Min.):

January 06 2012

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: French Design from the 1940s to Today / The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is the title of an exhibition at The Wolfsonian-FIU design museum in Miami Beach that has a look at French design from the 1940s to today. On display are furniture, industrial design, and craft by some of the most celebrated French designers. The show presents models, prototypes and mass-produced designs by Philippe Starck, Pierre Charpin, Laurent Massaloux, Jérôme Olivet, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Piere Paulin, Michel Ducaroy, Martin Szekely, Jean Royère, Serge Mouille, Jean Prouvé, and Roger Tallon, among others.

The show borrows its title from the French national motto Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and investigates how French design embodies the ideas that have defined French public life. It explores French design and its relationship to national identity. For the exhibition design the curatorial team conceived a system of wood units that are painted in the colors of the French flag. They serve as stools, pedestals, and other display elements, and are based on Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier’s Modulor, a measuring system derived from the proportions of the human body.

In this video, Marianne Lamonaca talks about how this exibition came about, the concept of the show, the collaboration between the curators, characteristics of French design, and the future of design.

The exhibition Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is based on the design objects of the Centre national des arts plastiques in Paris. It has been realized in a collaboration between The Wolfsonian’s Marianne Lamonaca, and France-based design professionals Matali Crasset, M/M (Paris) (Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak), and Alexandra Midal.

Philippe Starck is one of the best-known French designers. In the 1990s, Starck as artistic director developed a series of consumer electronics prototypes for Tim Thom, the research and development department of the French electronics company Thomson. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity presents several prototypes of this Dream Products series, such as the Perso portable videophone or the Krazy Jacket personal stereo.

Another section is dedicated to the work of Roger Tallon (1929-2011), one of the most important French industrial designers. Tallon gave form to hundreds of products as diverse as silverware, chairs, typewriters, tv sets, watches, refrigerators, industrial robots, and trains. On display at The Wolfsonian are his TS folding chair (1967), the Pin Spot floor lamp (1972), and the Portavia P111 portable television (1963), among others.

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: French Design from the 1940s to Today / The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach. Interview with Marianne Lamonaca (Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Education, The Wolfsonian–FIU). Miami Beach, December 2, 2011.

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

Complete Interview (11:56 Min.):

November 02 2011

Robert Breer. Retrospective at Museum Tinguely, Basel

Robert Breer is considered as one of the most groundbreaking and celebrated experimental filmmakers in history, a pioneer in avant-garde animation. The Museum Tinguely in Basel now shows the most comprehensive retrospective of this work to date. The solo exhibition presents the paintings, sculptures and films of the American artist, showing works from the 1950 to the present day. The exhibition was conceived in close cooperation with Robert Breer, who died in August 2011.

In this video, curator Andres Pardey (Vice Director, Museum Tinguely) talks about Robert Breers oeuvre and career, his artistic development, his relationship to Jean Tinguely, and the concept of the exhibition (click here for the complete video).

Robert Breer was born in Detroit in 1926. He is seen as a typical “Artist’s artist” who developed a highly original oeuvre. Breer was the son of an amateur 3D home-movie maker and chief engineer at the Chrysler Corporation. He initially studied engineering, but then switched to painting, attracted by the grid-based abstract works of Piet Mondrian.

In 1949 he moved to Paris, where he developed his own version of hard edge abstraction painting. Based on a deep interest in movement, he brought his paintings to live with experiments with animation, first with flipbooks, and finally with film. In his first film Form Phases (1952) he set the designs of these paintings into motion by morphing the forms and shifting the color. Later, he mixed moving and still images, representation and abstraction. In one of his best known films, Swiss Army Knife with Rats and Pigeons (1980) the functional form of the knife and its red color separate and dance around each other before reuniting.

Robert Breer’s High-Speed films are complemented by his Super-SloMo sculptures or Floats. In the 1960s he began to work on these sculptures that have simple, almost minimalist forms and move at speed that is almost imperceptible. They recreate the motion of his films in three dimensions.

The exhibition was mounted in collaboration with the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (UK) where it ran from June to September 2011. A major publication and an event program at Museum Tinguely accompany the exhibition.

Robert Breer. Retrospective at Museum Tinguely, Basel / Switzerland. Press preview, October 25, 2011.

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

Complete Video (17:25 Min.):

April 29 2011

Mauricio Kagel: Zwei-Mann-Orchester (Two-Man Orchestra) at Museum Tinguely, Basel

German-Argentine composer Mauricio Kagel’s Zwei-Mann-Orchester (Two-Man Orchestra) for two one-man orchestras is considered as one of the strangest pieces of contemporary music every composed. The sound is created by using more than 200 broken, battered and discarded instruments and dysfunctional sound-generators. After its premiere in 1973, it is now produced for the third time and performed in the Museum Tinguely in Basel by Wilhelm Bruck and Matthias Würsch. This video documents the presentation on April 23, 2011. Photo set and full-length video (for VernissageTV Members) after the jump.

Mauricio Kagel’s Zwei-Mann-Orchester premièred at the Donauseschingen Festival in 1973. Kagel and his musicians, Wilhelm Bruck and Theodor Ross, surprised their audience with large apparatus composed of more than 200 “instruments”. They were played with the aid of strings, rods, levers and other movable elements. “The traditional instrumental body of the renowned festival that had commissioned the work – the orchestra – was reflected in a caricature raised to the level of sound-art” (excerpt from the press release).

In 1992, the Zwei-Mann-Orchester was presented in a second version at the Kassel Documenta IX. Now, almost twenty years later, it is produced for the third time in Basel as part of a joint project involving the Paul Sacher Foundation, the Hochschule für Musik Basel, and the Museum Tinguely. Wilhelm Bruck has played Mauricio Kagel’s music since the 1960s and is now building and playing the new orchestral machine for the third time. This time, he his accompanied by Matthias Würsch, a professor of percussion at the Basel Academy of Music and a multi-instrumentalist of international stature.

Mauricio Kagel: Zwei-Mann-Orchester (Two-Man Orchestra) at Museum Tinguely, Basel. Performed by Wilhelm Bruck and Matthias Würsch, April 23, 2011.

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For VernissageTV Members:
Full-length video (68:33 Min.): ...

April 04 2011

Arman at Museum Tinguely Basel

Currently, the Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland shows a comprehensive survey of the work of the French artist Arman (1928-2005). The exhibition in Basel features seven thematically arranged galleries. They provide a unique overview of Arman’s oeuvre form the early 1950s to his late work in the 1990s, with a special focus on the 1960s and 70s.

Arman at Museum Tinguely Basel

In this video, the director of the museum, Roland Wetzel, talks about the concept of the exhibition, Arman’s oeuvre – and the rediscovery of a work from the Poubelles series. This video is an excerpt, the full-length version is available after the jump.

On display are Arman’s major work groups, beginning with the Cachets and Allures d’Objects. Alson on view are key works from the series Coupes, Colères, Combustions, and Inclusions, as well as a selection of Accumulations Renault, and exmples of Arman’s paintings and resin casts using paint tubes.

At the center of the exhibition are his works that are related to the throwaway society, his famous Poubelles and Accumulations, in which he showcases discarded everyday goods and trash in glass and perspex boxes as objets d’art.

“Today, Arman’s works from the 1960s and 70s seem startlingly topical; in particular his Accumulations, his Colères, involving the destruction of an object, and above all the Poubelles can be read as archaeological traces left behind by consumer society – astonishingly presaging how the throwaway lifestyle and the destruction of the planet would later become the most pressing concerns of our day.” (Excerpt from the press release).

The exhibition has been conceived by the Centre Pompidou, Paris in co-operation with the Tinguely Museum (president of Centre Pompidou: Alain Sebain / Director of MNAM/ CCI: Alfred Pacquement / Curator of exhibition: Jean-Michel Bouhours). The exhibition runs until May 15, 2011.

Arman retrospective at Museum Tinguely, Basel / Switzerland. Walk-through and interview with Roland Wetzel (director, Museum Tinguely), March 31, 2011.

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

Full-length version (9:42 min.):
Photo set on Flickr:

March 31 2011

Hatje Cantz Publishers / Interview with Annette Kulenkampff

Last year, the Open Space section of the art fairArt Cologne hosted the visually and musically engaging artistic project Circus Hein. This year, the focus is on knowledge, books, stories and texts. Open Space 2011 is conceived as a library setting resembling a salon. Books and catalogs will be available for browsing. One of the participants in this project is Hatje Cantz Verlag, one of the leading publishers of art books.

Prior the fair (that runs from 13 – 17 April 2011), VernissageTV met with Annette Kulenkampff, the managing director of Hatje Cantz Verlag at their headquarters in Ostfildern near Stuttgart / Germany. In this interview, Annette Kulenkampff talks about the history of Hatje Cantz, the current program, the participation in the Open Space project, ebooks, and the future of art book publishing.

Hatje Cantz Verlag / Interview with Annette Kulenkampff. Ostfildern / Germany, March 29, 2011.

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Interview in German language:

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