Kim West

  • picks October 07, 2009

    Sean Snyder

    Sean Snyder’s recent work seems to represent a moment of pause and methodological reflection in his practice. Of the two sections constituting this exhibition, this is perhaps more evident in “Index,” 2007–2009: a series of black-and-white photographs of his working tools and media-storage facilities, including digital cameras, a USB drive, a pencil, and a microscope. Here, Snyder’s project—to digitize his own archive—seems to have prompted him to carry out an archaeological investigation of the media technologies of past decades. In a sense, “Index” becomes a monument to our rapidly aging means

  • picks May 06, 2009

    “Rummaging”

    The third installment of this art center’s yearly salon de jeunesse, “Rummaging” focuses on artworks that reshape and reconfigure space. With the stated ambition of linking the work of an emerging generation of Swedish artists to certain practices in the country’s art world of the 1980s, this exhibition offers installations, sculptures, and interactive pieces that propose disparate spatial experiences and relations. The idea of basing an exhibition of contemporary practices on a locally defined historiography certainly has great potential and could be used to examine new perspectives on the

  • film November 02, 2008

    Spare Room

    IN VANDA’S ROOM (2000) is the second of the three remarkable films Pedro Costa has devoted to the Lisbon slum suburb of Fontainhas. While the enigmatic and beautiful Bones (1997), shot on 35-mm film by a proper crew and featuring (a few) professional actors and a (fragmentary) plot, remains an art-house film in the classic sense, In Vanda’s Room is something altogether different. A “documentary fiction,” the nearly three-hour film was shot on digital video over a period of two years by a crew essentially consisting of one person—Pedro Costa. It depicts the reality of the destitute neighborhood

  • picks October 03, 2008

    “Sprout from White Nights”

    “Sprout from White Nights” does not want to be an ordinary group show of Chinese contemporary art. Instead, as curator Zhang Wei explains, it aims to be “an exhibition about artists’ experiences of their social space in contemporary China.” Looking at the exhibition’s collection of installations, multichannel video works, garden/lounge dwelling areas, and interactive new-media pieces, a malevolent visitor could point out that living in the social space of contemporary China must be very much like visiting an exhibition of globalized—hence Western—contemporary art. Be that as it may, this is an

  • picks September 19, 2008

    Christian Boltanski

    The works in “Les Archives” (The Archives) are new and recent, but the general project remains the same: For approximately four decades, Christian Boltanski has recorded, collected, and displayed the ephemeral traces of life, creating memory and history from the minor elements of human existence. The centerpiece of this show is The Heart Archive, 2008, in which visitors are invited to enter a lablike space and donate their heartbeats to the artist; the resulting archive of digital recordings will be installed permanently on the Japanese island of Ejima. While the heart archive itself is not at

  • picks June 19, 2008

    Clay Ketter

    In Brändström & Stene’s main gallery, six large, high-resolution photographs from Clay Ketter’s series “Gulf Coast Slabs,” 2007, are on view. Measuring from roughly three to thirteen feet in width and around three to seven feet in height, the photographs depict foundations of houses on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi that were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina from a bird’s-eye view. Remarkable in detail, the images show the few remnants of the habitations that once stood on the grounds, including tiles, slabs, outlines of walls, and sewage-system parts. When one steps back from the photographs, these

  • picks February 28, 2008

    Matthew Buckingham

    With the two works that make up this exhibition, Matthew Buckingham engages in a subtle meditation on reproductive media and history. Image of Absalon to Be Projected Until It Vanishes, 2001, is a simple yet conceptually rich photo installation. A slide show presents a single image of the 1902 monument to Copenhagen’s founder, Absalon, a twelfth-century bishop and warlord. As the title of the work suggests, the light and the heat from the projector lamp will wear out the slide, ultimately effacing the image. The gradual disappearance sets in contrast two forms of mnemotechnology, two forms of

  • picks January 16, 2008

    Christian Andersson

    Christian Andersson is among a number of artists currently reviving the themes and motifs of Op art. Like artists Olafur Eliasson, Jeppe Hein, and Carsten Höller, Andersson works with traditional Op concerns of perception and optical illusion, while adapting them to an art scene in which multimedia installation is the norm. But while Eliasson revels in grandiose scientific statements and Höller moves between conceptual complexity and mindless play, Andersson opts for investigating special effects and fakes. At Nordenhake, he shows three works. In a Plexiglas box sits 1950 (1984), 2008, a copy

  • picks September 14, 2007

    “Against Time”

    This is the first group exhibition curated by director Sara Arrhenius at this art center since it opened one year ago. While previous programs have been promising, this show really delivers. “Against Time” gathers twenty artists and writers to reflect on narrative modes in contemporary artistic and literary practices, focusing on models for anachronistic history writing. It is a slow exhibition, with works that demand careful reading. Artists in the show use different media, but there is an emphasis on works that combine photography, film, or other image material with texts in ways that counter

  • picks May 25, 2007

    “Monument to Transformation . . .”

    The two projects in “Monument to Transformation 1989–1968–2009: Installation model—Fragment #4,” curated by Vit Havranek, present contrasting ways of using the archives aesthetically. Vangelis Vlanos’s installation is a study of the political and economic relations between Bosnia and Greece, documenting the Greek-funded reconstruction of the parliamentary building in Sarajevo, partially destroyed in 1992. It is a piece of investigative journalism rendered spatial: The research material is presented in files, illustrated with two models of the building in question. To use the “archive” as an

  • picks May 15, 2007

    Sophie Tottie

    Do you betray the singularity of historical events by inserting them into the narrative of History? If so, is there a possible form for presenting them that does not reduce their heterogeneity to sameness? High-caliber philosophical questions like these form the background to Sophie Tottie’s midcareer retrospective, an ambitious exhibition collecting works made between 1993 and 2007. The show includes a number of Tottie’s signature pieces: installations that employ text, video, and painting to evoke past events, forgotten sciences, and abandoned utopias without revealing their sources or

  • picks February 17, 2007

    Alexander Gutke

    The photographic work 9 ways to say it’s over, 2006, provides the key to this exhibition, Alexander Gutke’s first solo show in Stockholm. The piece consists of nine film stills of credits from different movies and in different languages, all announcing THE END. Even the very end, it seems, holds open certain possibilities. Gutke’s work, usually cinematic in some sense, revolves around this theme, and more specifically around the well-known idea of the engagement with an artwork’s material conditions as the endpoint of formalist exploration. Since 2001, Gutke has made a series of works that

  • picks December 13, 2006

    Dominique Petitgand

    In Quelqu’un par terre (Someone on the Ground), 2005–2006, Dominique Petitgand creates a play of connections, separations, and superimpositions between noise, voice, and text. The exhibition consists of a single installation piece that occupies four spaces in the gallery. A number of loudspeakers that transmit metallic noises in a steady rhythm are installed in one brightly lit room. In an adjacent space, a monitor displays an English-language text at a synchronized pace: Fragmentary phrases evoke a possible event or story (“it’ll pass / don’t worry / it’s fine / it’s forgotten”). Yet another

  • picks November 30, 2006

    “Labyrinth”

    Held in an art center at the outskirts of Stockholm, “Labyrinth” collects some 250 “artist’s books” by both Swedish and international contemporary artists and writers. Following the exhibition’s title, the various publications gathered here are intended to constitute a “labyrinth” of “unknown worlds” and “forking paths.” Aside from redundant allusions to Borges (I hope one day to come across a show concerning art and writing that does not allude to the ubiquitous Argentine author), the curatorial team has succeeded in assembling and organizing an excellent selection of works. The show takes the

  • picks October 02, 2006

    Harun Farocki

    With his complex, often collage-based multichannel films, German filmmaker Harun Farocki reflects upon the political implications of the use of images in contemporary society and upon the social and historical conditions of the visual technologies his own works employ. Farocki’s work does not in any clear sense belong to the tradition of “video art” but is rather inscribed into the long (and heterogeneous) history of the documentary and the essay film: Dziga Vertov and Chris Marker are touchstones, rather than Nam June Paik and Tony Oursler. This retrospective is anchored by Videogramme einer

  • picks June 19, 2006

    Elis Eriksson

    Swedish pioneer poet-painter-sculptor Elis Eriksson’s preference for the term producer rather than artist appears quite fitting when navigating this show, the first-ever retrospective exhibition of his work. Eriksson was frenetically productive, churning out texts and drawings, paintings and sculptures, and “combines” and installations at industrial speed. Crucial to his “macklings” and “tjofjäses” (his two- and three-dimensional artworks, respectively) was the development of an alternative orthography, giving rise to a highly idiomatic poetry and fiction that invaded all levels of his work.

  • picks May 02, 2006

    Karl Holmqvist

    Turns of phrase and repetitions that slow language down and render it unfamiliar form the core of Karl Holmqvist’s exhibition “GÅVÄNTASTANNA” (GOWAITSTOP) at this art center just outside of Stockholm. The exhibition is centered on a cut-up text that assembles fragments and excerpts from William Blake, William S. Burroughs, Gwen Stefani, Elke Krystufek, Artforum.com and other sources into a heterogeneous poem about mysticism, resistance and Josephine Baker. The text (also found in Holmqvist’s 2005 book I ON A LION IN ZION) is printed in black-and-white alternatively onto Op art–patterned posters