3 *** Hotel

januari 30th, 2008

Michael Sailstorfer
3 Ster mit Ausblick
, 2002

michael sailstorfer1

michael sailstorfer2

michael sailstorfer3

michael sailstorfer4

michael sailstorfer5

michael sailstorfer6

michael sailstorfer6

michael sailstorfer7

michael sailstorfer8

michael sailstorfer9

michael sailstorfer10

“The title http3 Ster mit Ausblick (3 Steres with a view, 2002)… juxtaposes technical vocabulary with a romantic sentiment one might find in Casper David Friedrich. Sailstorfer describes the etymological signifigance of the word Ster: ‘Ster is a Bavarian slang and means 1m x 1m x 1mx of wood. 3 Ster are 3 x 1m x 1m x 1m of wood. The amount of wood they used to build the cabin.Mit Ausblick translates as ‘with a view.’ But it is not any kind of view, but implies a paradoxical outlook into delightful, often remote scenery. We will see how paradoxical this title proves to be.”

“With playful irony, the artists change the meaning of the wood-burning stove. It no longer acts as the material and spiritual center of the house, but instead, becomes the internal aggressor that attacks the very foundationss of its own domesticity. Sailstorfer and Heinert’s transformation denies the stove the role as a literal and metaphorical place of nourishment. On the contrary, its own self-nourishment leads to self-annihiliation. Instead of offering a nice view, the 3 Ster – this certain amount of wood – no longer constitutes the cabin, but is now turned into its most basic usage: as food for the stove.”

Massimiliano Gioni, Max Hollein, Johan F Hartle, Simone Subal. 2006. Michael Sailstorfer: Fur Immer War Gestern. Verlag Fur Moderne Kunst., p. 53

Object Fetishization

januari 29th, 2008

Haim Steinbach
pink accent2, 1987


Since 1979 Steinbach has produced works that feature a variety of familiar, common objects, creating a system for their display and thereby introducing a sense of order into the chaos of consumer culture. Selecting his sculptural elements while out shopping, Steinbach addresses the newness and pleasure associated with purchasing objects as well as the tremendous range of things that people buy, collect, and preserve. Additionally, by incorporating items that are readily available and easily replaceable, Steinbach challenges the traditional methods of art-making and undermines the fetishization of the art object.

caution, 2007


Interview with Haim Steinbach by Ginger Wolfe-Saurez Read the rest of this entry »

Eslöv Meteorite

november 3rd, 2007

meteor impact
meteor impact at 06.41 am

In the early morning of the 3rd of november 2007 a meteor hit Eslöv, known as the most boring town of Sweden. It was an unexpected event that was witnessed only by a few. The energy of the blast was estimated to be between 1 and 2 megatons of TNT and left a hole of 15 metres in diameter in a field near Eslöv. The meteorite was dug up by Maarten Vanden Eynde and put on display in front of the Medborgarhuset in the framework of the 2nd Eslöv Biennale.

meteor crater
meteor crater near Eslöv

meteor impact drawing

Eslöv Biennale II
03/11 – 30/11/2007: Medborgarhuset, Eslöv, Sweden

The 2007 Biennale is a wide exhibition that offers a regional and national sample of the art of today with international flavours. The elements of the Biennale is like a sweep through the art-world with everything from visual art to sound-art, conceptualism and performance. The location for the Biennale is part of the experience. Medborgarhuset (Civic Hall) has flourished during the last year and is building a reputation as a centre of events. In architectural circles the Civic Hall in Eslöv is known as the most ambitious building in Sweden in the post-war period. It was 1947 when the young, newly-qualified architect Hans Asplund´s proposal won the competition to design Eslöv´s Civic Hall, which was built and completed in 1957. At the same time he build the United Nations building in New York for which he used many similar materials.


New Weapons

juli 9th, 2007

Shi Jinsong
Secret Book of Cool Weapons, 2007

new weapons Shi Jinsong

Industrial Evolution

juli 5th, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde
City of a thousand trades, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde city of a thousand trades

Maarten Vanden Eynde city of a thousand trades 2

Birmingham played a leading role as front runner for the Industrial Revolution, changing the world beyond recognition and paving the way for the largest population explosion in human history. In 1791, Arthur Young, the writer and commentator on British economic life described Birmingham as “the first manufacturing town in the world.” The Lunar Society, based in Birmingham, was the brain and fuel for the machine that powered the evolution of human civilization. The members of the Lunar Society were Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Samuel Galton Junior, James Keir, Joseph Priestley, Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt, John Whitehurst and William Withering. More peripheral characters and correspondents included Sir Richard Arkwright, John Baskerville, Thomas Beddoes, Thomas Day, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Anna Seward, William Small, John Smeaton, Thomas Wedgwood, John Wilkinson, Joseph Wright, James Wyatt, Samuel Wyatt, and member of parliament John Levett.

In 2007 most of the manufacturing companies have moved out off Birmingham to other parts of the world where labor is cheaper. Together with the companies the knowledge to manufacture things is disappearing. In two generations there will be hardly anyone left who has the ability to make something. The Eastside area is being redeveloped and the predominant manufacturing business will be replaced by a service and culture oriented industry. Some huge factories are already transformed in yuppie-flats. I went around visiting every factory of Eastside to excavate the remnants of the manufacturing industry.

Above the Jennens road I only discovered university buildings and brain parks for the IT sector. In the middle there is Millenium Point and huge shopping areas surrounding the Bullring, one of the biggest shopping centers of the world. Everything is imported. Only in the south east, in Digbeth (the historical center and birthplace of Birmingham) I found manufacturing factories. Half of all the buildings is empty already, abandoned, to let. The others are scheduled to leave within a few years, some even in months. It felt like I was just in time to collect a few samples before it’s all gone. Like a contemporary archaeologist I wandered through the area to look for left overs. I asked the factory owners if they wanted to contribute to the collection of manufactured goods being made in Birmingham anno 2007. I wanted to preserve them for future archaeologists to discover. It was now or never.

The reactions were overwhelmingly positive. Somehow the necessity to preserve something of this important period in the history of Birmingham does not need much explanation. Almost 90% of all the manufacturing companies participated and did so by giving samples for free. The only three things I had to buy – because they were too valuable and too big – I got with a huge discount. After 30 seconds of suspicion I was welcomed very friendly and personal life stories came on the table accompanied with a cup of tea.
The stories were very consistent and similar: after having worked in the factory for all their lives, often even for several generations, it was not possible to compete with the cheap imported goods anymore. The rents became too high, hiring more people too expensive. The ground was to centrally located and therefor to valuable. They were simply bought out. Offers which they could not refuse… Or their children were not interested or skilled enough to take over the company. They all felt part of a disappearing tribe, the last generation of traditional workman.

I asked two pieces of each object, referring to Noach’s arch and proving somehow the multiplicity of it, the possibility to be mass produced and re-produced if needed. It takes two to tango… The objects are lined up, from small to big, marching to an uncertain future, destiny unknown.

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 1

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 2

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 3

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 4

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 5

‘I remember Birmingham being epitome of modernity… Birmingham was the future – in a sense it has been the future, but that bit of the future is worn out now and we need a new one’

[Will Alsop, architect]

Marvelous Marble

juni 2nd, 2007

Four Framed Hardstone Panels
English (in imitation of an Italian typology)

Contemporary Archaeology - marble
Getty Center, Los Angeles

Based on a type of inlay dating to the 15oos, specimen plaques such as these were popular from the 1700s as celebrations of nature’s beauty and of the human ability to classify such marvels scientifically.

Wim Delvoye

Marble Floors, 1999

wim delvoye

Known for his exceptional transformations of images and objects using processes typically associated with the applied arts (i.e. wood-carving, stained glass, tattoo), Delvoye in his “Marble Floors” has photographed “charcuterie”– precision cut salami, chorizo, mortadella and ham, arranged in geometric patterns based on Italian Baroque and Islamic motifs. The visceral and sometimes unsettling effect this body of work can have on a viewer is balanced by the perfect order and rhythmic harmony of these familiar Baroque and Islamic patterns.

wim delvoye 2

Jan Fabre
De benen van de rede ontveld, 2000
(Legs stripped from reason)

jan fabre

Jan Fabre is an artist, theatre-maker and author. He was born in Antwerp in 1958. In the late seventies he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Art and the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and Crafts in Antwerp. His first works date from that period. Jan Fabre makes installations, sculptures, drawings, films and performances. Over the years he has built up a sizeable body of work and has become internationally acclaimed.
In 2000 he wrapped the respectable columns of the Aula University building in Ghent, Belgium with layers of ham. Slowly the ham started to rot and turned green of fungi, imitating the marble structure even more. The commotion was incredible. The citizens of Ghent complained that it was such a waste of good food (thinking of all the poor people around). Initially the exhibition organisation replied that it was secondary Parma ham, ready to thrown away anyway, but the Parma ham company declared that they don’t have secondary ham. All their ham is prime meat! When the smell was unbearable, the work was removed.

jan fabre 2

Preservation of the Berlin Wall

mei 20th, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde
Preservation of the Berlin Wall, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde Preservation of the Berlin Wall

Maarten Vanden Eynde Preservation of the Berlin Wall 2

The Berlin Wall, known in the Soviet Union and in the German Democratic Republic as the “Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart,” was a separation barrier between West Berlin and East Germany, which closed the border between East and West Berlin for 28 years. Construction on the Berlin Wall began on August 13, 1961, and it was dismantled in the weeks following November 9, 1989. The Wall was over 155 km (96 miles) long. A no man’s land was created between the barriers, which became widely known as the “death strip”. It was paved with raked gravel, making it easy to spot footprints left by escapees; it offered no cover; it was booby-trapped with tripwires; and, most importantly, it offered a clear field of fire to the watching guards.

Over the years, the Wall went through four distinct phases:

1. Basic wire fence (1961)
2. Improved wire fence (1962-1965)
3. Concrete wall (1965-1975)
4. Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall 75) (1975-1989)

The “fourth generation wall”, known officially as “Stützwandelement UL 12.11″(Retaining wall element UL 12.11), was the final and most sophisticated version of the Wall. Begun in 1975 and completed about 1980, it was constructed from 45,000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 3.6 m high and 1.2 m wide, and cost 16,155,000 East German Marks. The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult for escapers to scale it. It was reinforced by mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, over 116 watchtowers, and twenty bunkers. This version of the Wall is the one most commonly seen in photographs, and surviving fragments of Wall in Berlin and elsewhere around the world are generally pieces of the fourth-generation Wall.

Berlin Wall
Maarten Vanden Eynde, Berlin Wall, 2006

‘For the exhibition Turn to Stone in the Museo Mineralogico Campano I send a postcard to the museum containing a small plastic box with a piece of the Berlin Wall. I donated the work to the director with the specific question to preserve the Berlin Wall by adopting the piece in the permanent collection. He agreed and from now on the postcard stands in the display surrounded by other mineral stones.
The small stone contains the story of the whole wall and preserves an important part of human history. It represents World War II, the cold war, communisms and all the personal stories that are connected to the Berlin Wall. It’s a memory of the past for the future.’

Maarten Vanden Eynde Preservation of the Berlin Wall 3

Maarten Vanden Eynde Berlin Wall Letter

Ira Bartell

april 18th, 2007

Ira Bartell
Flowerpot, 2005

ira bartell

In a town of Roman antiquity like Cologne, a pottery shard is not simply a piece of ceramic. A shard speaks – to archeologists most completely – but to us all. To a professional, a shard tells of its origins: the period, place, likely use, possibly the former contents. To the rest of us, a shard means that what once was held together as a functioning vessel is now no more than pieces; to paraphrase the Buddha, “Whatever is put together, comes apart.” Perhaps the shard tells of violence. Certainly it speaks of destruction, and most ineluctably, the passage of time – a point Bartell underscores by dating this object. On a emotional, human level, a shard points to broken structures, broken relations, broken plans, broken dreams. Here is a broken thing.

Acknowledging all this – having broken the pot himself – Bartell takes several triumphant steps past depression or nihilism. He has re-assembled the pot – not back into a seamlessly, cleverly, glued camouflage job – but loosely, so that the pieces remain pieces, and the destruction remains present and visible. This airy reconstruction of shards into the shape – the former shape – of a flowerpot, becomes an act of bravery and pluck. Bartell says, “yes, things break, my things too. But you can do with the pieces. Pick them up, put them together. Make something.”

The pot Bartell has wrought is indeed a beautiful thing – much more lovely than the original, unbroken, garden variety. It attracts all who see it, simply because it looks so good. This pot is a three-dimensional mosaic (a nod perhaps towards Cologne’s oldest and most beautiful resident artwork – the million-piece mosaic dining-room floor from an Roman villa in the middle of the old town.) The attraction of this object comes in the first instance from the artistic integrity and the craft in it. Bartell knows the importance of doing things well, and that it is not enough simply to make jokes or create objects of the absurd. The pot is empty; it holds nothing but beauty and bravery, and this is magnetic.

David Schieider, 2005

Ira Bartell
The History of Egypt

Ira bartell 2

Stonehenge the Sequel

maart 28th, 2007

Jim Reinders
Carhenge, 1987


carhenge tourist

“Carhenge, which replicates Stonehenge, consists of the circle of cars, 3 standing trilithons within the circle, the heel stone, slaughter stone, and 2 station stones, and the Aubrey circle….

The artist of this unique car sculpture, Jim Reinders, experimented with unusual and interesting artistic creations throughout his life. While living in England, he had the opportunity to study the design and purpose of Stonehenge. His desire to copy Stonehenge in physical size and placement came to fruition in the summer of 1987 with the help of many family members.

Thirty-eight automobiles were placed to assume the same proportions as Stonehenge with the circle measuring approximately 96 feet in diameter. Some autos are held upright in pits five feet deep, trunk end down, while those cars which are placed to form the arches have been welded in place. All are covered with gray spray paint. The honor of depicting the heel stone goes to a 1962 Caddy.”

Adam Horowitz
Stonefridge, 1997


Atop the flat landscape on the edge of Santa Fe, among tumbleweeds and trash and the beauty of northern New Mexico’s skyline, “Stonefridge” catches your eye and confuses your mind like a mirage.

Refrigerators of all colors and shapes stand 18-feet high, lined up in a 100-foot diameter circle, facing inward toward a cluster of taller fridge towers. It’s as if the outer ring of fridges is worshipping these inner towers, or perhaps protecting them from the outside dangers.

Like Stonehenge, which is aligned to solar and lunar astronomical events, “Stonefridge” is geographically aligned to its own kind of power source: Los Alamos National Laboratories. Adam Horowitz, a critic of the atomic bomb, purposefully built the monument in a place where visitors can see the labs in the distance. He calls it an “atomic alignment.”

Concrete Question?

maart 27th, 2007

Kristin Posehn
Replicant, 2005/2006


description: A remake of a graffiti-covered supporting column from the M25 motorway/freeway, using photography and plywood. The exceptionally detailed tromp l’oeil photograph are mounted on a plywood structure, which shows through at top and bottom. A play on reality and illusion, process and reproduction, simulacra and materiality. A synthesis of sculpture, photography and installation. This work was a commission for the Keith Talent Gallery and Year_06. It was installed in the lovely Dicken’s Library of the Mary Ward House, Bloomsbury, London.

‘The physical construction of the work is the narrative; the movement required to view the work is the story and its unfolding. The structure of the work is a response to the journey that was its construction; it absorbs and reacts to all prior stages, such that the whole encompasses a larger time than any one moment. The passage through the work is interesting not in terms of a destination, but as a form for experience.’

more: Kristin Posehn

To Fix the Image in Memory

maart 20th, 2007

Vija Celmins
To Fix the Image in Memory (1977-82)

Vija Celmins

To Fix the Image in Memory places eleven small stones and their duplicates, made of painted cast bronze, onto a surface, challenging the viewer to decipher the real from the manmade and to question the relevance of the distinctions between real object and copy, nature and art. Culled from the area around the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico, where Celmins went to recover from the breakup of a romance in 1977, the stones have a magical, talismanic quality. They are all different shapes, colors and textures, ranging from the craggy to the phallic to the fecal, with interesting markings and lines on each.



“I got the idea for this piece while walking in northern New Mexico picking up rocks, as people do. I’d bring them home and I kept the good ones. I noticed that I kept a lot that had galaxies on them. I carried them around in the trunk of my car. I put them on window sills. I lined them up. And, finally, they formed a set, a kind of constellation. I developed this desire to try and put them into an art context. Sort of mocking art in a way, but also to affirm the act of making: the act of looking and making as a primal act of art.” By having each original rock installed with its duplicate, Celmins invites the viewer to examine them closely: “Part of the experience of exhibiting them together with the real stones,” she has said, “was to create a challenge for your eyes. I wanted your eyes to open wider.”


februari 2nd, 2007

Brian Jungen
Cetology, 2002


Brian Jungen (b. British Columbia, Canada, 1970) is part of a generation of Vancouver-based artists currently bursting onto the international stage. Born to a Swiss-Canadian father and First Nations mother and raised in the Dane-zaa nation, his drawings, sculptures and installations explore elements of his own hybrid cultural identity. Yet, his approach transcends questions of ethnicity to explore the complex exchanges of goods and ideas in our globalized world.

Jungen’s reputation was secured by his magnificent whale ‘skeletons’, large suspended sculptures made from cheap plastic deckchairs. His rendering of rare and endangered whale species in non-biodegradable mass-produced objects also refers to current debates about whaling practices in Canada. Representing the postmodern, postcolonial world with a wry sense of humor, Jungen collapses stereotypes and embraces change, flux and instability. Offering new ways of thinking about multiculturalism at a time when the famous model of Dutch ‘tolerance’ is under close scrutiny, his practice approaches cultural difference as an unstable, reciprocal notion, using it as a starting point for creativity and critical reflection.

Study for the Evening Redness in the West (detail), 2006


National History Burial

januari 31st, 2007

Paul McCarthy and Raivo Puusemp
Burial, 2006


Paul McCarthy, curating and working on a concept developed by Raivo Puusemp, buried a favorite sculpture of his own making on the grounds of the Naturalis. The resulting work, Burial, reverses the process of unearthing practiced by paleontologists and archaeologists. McCarthy’s with Puusemp’s work was performed on the day of the exhibition opening and documented on film for display in the exhibition. The buried sculpture resides underground as an artifact for future discovery.

The event, if we consider it in reverse, raises a number of questions for natural history museums. While specimens and objects are still buried, do they really exist? Before they’re dug up, do they have any value? When they are recovered, can some sort of price be placed on them?

Homo Cyklopicus

oktober 15th, 2006

Admiral and Minister Pedro of the selfproclaimed freestate Ladonia has made an amazing discovery during his excavations. He has found a cranium which, no doubt, belongs to the hitherto unknown Homo Cyklopicus.

The scientists are developing two theories. King Ladon can have been Cyklops. It is also possible that cyclops lived in Ladonia long before and that Ulysseus during his travels visited Ladonia.


Admiral Pedro’s sensational discovery the Ladonian Cyklops.

Ladonia is a micronation, proclaimed in 1996 as the result of a years-long court battle between artist Lars Vilks and local authorities over two sculptures, ”Nimis” (Latin – ”too much”) and Arx (Latin – ”fortress”). These two colossal sculptures are erected without permit on a remote part of a nature reserve on Kullabergs northeast stony shores of southern Sweden. The battle about Arx and Nimis has rolled through the court system of Sweden during 20 years and has gone through the District Court and the Court of Civil and Criminal Appeal.
Ladonia is not recognized by any other accredited state, and acknowledging international law, there is no legal basis for calling it a state.
Ladonia acquires a colony in Norway (Telemark) acclaimed in 1997 on May 17th (National Day in Norway). An embassy was built in Falkenberg where the first official state visit also takes place.

‘The Revolution Is Just Around The Corner’

mei 28th, 2006

Marjolijn Dijkman

The Revolution is Just Around The Corner, 2006


new1 old1

new2 old2


During my stay in Tbilisi I conducted research on the transition of the street kiosk and the way people developed and fabricated displays to sell their goods on the street. The inventive and autonomous way of constructing the displays is part of the economic history of Georgia. There is an evolution of the displays from one piece of paper, a stick, a small table, self designed and developed inventive constructions into a standardized Coca-Cola kiosk. When the economy and regulations for selling goods are developing at the current speed, all the improvised and handmade displays will disappear out of the city within the next years. I decided to collect and preserve some examples of displays. Besides the sculptural quality of the objects, the displays might help in the future to understand how Georgia’s rebuilding has developed and where it all began. Like in most democracies, it literary started with a piece of paper and a stick…

After I visualized the evolution of the display in a series of drawing and photographs I decided to make a collection of the authentic displays. I encountered people with interesting and special displays to question whether it was possible to make a exact copy of their display if they would like to exchange their display for my copy. The exchange itself is an important moment in the process. The two exchanged displays and satisfied owners reveal bits about the complicated situation between the West and the rebuilding of Georgia at that moment. The owners from Tbilisi were amazed by the new standardized copy, and I from the Netherlands who’s totally fascinated by the character and authenticity of the old ones. There is a strong longing for the ‘West’ in Georgia and ‘the West’ is curious and fascinated by the Eastern countries. This exchange of ideologies and the aims of the rebuilding Georgia was an important point for discussion. These exchanged displays and a series of photographs of the actual exchange resulted in a presentation of ‘The revolution is just around the corner’.