Nuit Banai

  • picks July 27, 2020

    Liesl Raff

    To enter this exhibition requires crossing the physical and symbolic threshold of a steel, latex, and palm leaf structure resembling a hastily constructed cabana roof and suspended at a forty-five-degree angle to the gallery’s front facade. For this work, titled Transition 3 (all works 2020), Liesl Raff rubbed silicone oil into the tensile latex and sprinkled talcum powder onto the brittle palm fronds, taking care to modulate the materials’ hue and moisture. Framed by this mise-en-scène, the exhibition explores how a post-Minimalist lexicon might create intermediary states in daily life. 

    Take,

  • Milica Tomić

    In her research-based practice of the past twenty years, Milica Tomić has delved into various historical and national contexts in which the suspension of laws and civic culture became a long-term strategy to manage the life and death of populations. Opening just before the Austrian government enacted strict measures to confront the Covid-19 pandemic, her exhibition “The Small Letter ‘a’” was a poignant intervention in this attenuated time.

    As a focal point, her installation The Museum in Suspension, 2020, paid tribute to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, a modernist icon designed in 1960

  • Luisa Kasalicky

    It was difficult to approach Luisa Kasalicky’s “Tiefschlaf in der Stadt” (Deep Sleep in the City) without thinking of Adolf Loos, the preeminent Viennese architect of modernity. His polemic “Ornament and Crime,” published in 1913, was a seminal denunciation of the Secessionist idiom: the Art Nouveau style still associated with the city’s turn-of-the-century avant-gardism. Arguing on both moral and economic grounds, Loos claimed that “the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects.” Just over a century later, in works dating from between 2014 and

  • slant April 02, 2020

    Letter from Vienna

    LAST MONTH WAS SUPPOSED TO MARK the grand opening of the Albertina Modern in Vienna. Instead, the city’s last public gathering took place just days before the museum’s scheduled opening, on March 8, when the Croatian curatorial collective What, How, and for Whom (WHW) inaugurated their exhibition at Kunsthalle Wien with nearly two thousand visitors who hugged, kissed, drank, and sang songs of solidarity with the self-organized anti-fascist polyglot choir Hor 29. Novembar. Since then, the habitually sleepy capital of the Alpine state has gone into a state of near-total social and civil hibernation.

  • “Transferumbau: Liebling”

    A collaboration between the Liebling Haus in Tel Aviv and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Dessau, Germany, “Transferumbau” (Transfer Rebuild) was the outcome of a three-year research project conducted by the curator Hila Cohen-Schneiderman and the artists Ilit Azoulay, Lou Moria, Nir Shauloff, and Jonathan Touitou. The exhibition, appearing concurrently in both cities, took its cue from the Haavara Agreement, a controversial deal made in 1933 between Zionist organizations and Nazi Germany that allowed the most affluent of the country’s Jewish population to leave for Mandatory Palestine and

  • Adrian Paci

    Spending time in Adrian Paci’s survey exhibition “Prova” (Test) in the days following the earthquake that shook Albania in November 2019 felt both strange and apt. The artist, who was born in the northern Albanian city of Shkodër and is now based in Milan, presented a range of works dating from 1999 to 2019. Among them were two pieces from the photographic series “Back Home,” 2001, showing individuals and families who emigrated from Albania placed before depictions of the homes they left behind; Home to Go, 2001, a white marble-dust and resin sculpture of a hunched man weighed down by the tiled

  • Dina Shenhav

    Developed by the Israeli Defense Forces in the 1970s, the Merkava is a battle tank used widely in Israel’s military operations. It was recognized by the American conservative magazine The National Interest as one of the five deadliest tanks in the world. Dina Shenhav’s sculpture Merkava (Chariot), 2019, appearing in an exhibition of the same title, occupied a vast portion of the gallery space with its impressive scale and meticulously detailed surfaces. Yet this model had been hand-fabricated entirely of foam (with a wood armature) and thus deprived of its lethal force. The malleability of the

  • Piotr Lakomy

    Piotr Łakomy’s conceit for his solo exhibition “Fenix” was simple: What would it be like to share a studio with Edward Krasiński? Since the renowned Conceptual artist died in 2004 and Łakomy’s studio is nearly two hundred miles away, in the Polish city of Poznań, this meant creating a provisional and highly symbolic cohabitation at the Avant-Garde Institute, which organized the show in collaboration with Warsaw’s Galeria Stereo. Established by the Foksal Gallery Foundation the year of Krasiński’s death, the Avant-Garde Institute preserves his studio apartment and makes the collection of works

  • picks October 15, 2019

    Yael Yudkovik

    In “The Annual Conference on the Prevention and Care of Pressure Ulcers,” Yael Yudkovik tries to develop a visual language through which to represent the suffering experienced by both Palestinians and Israelis in a political conflict that seems to have neither an end nor a resolution. The titular mixed-media installation includes rows of skateboards decorated with keffiyeh scarves, a totemic wooden sculpture with attached butcher knives, a concrete block facing a photographic image of its replica, a mobile blackboard with aphorisms written in Arabic script, and various figurations of Palestinian

  • Genti Korini

    Despite its title, Genti Korini’s exhibition “Notes from the Upperground” had nothing to do with Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Here, the “upperground” refers to the remarkable headstones that memorialize the lives of everyday people laid to rest in the cemeteries of Tirana, Albania. Korini’s almost-life-size color photographs, sharing the same title as the exhibition (all works 2019), withhold the particularities of the departed by documenting the reverse side of each headstone. Filling the main space of Bazament (a literally underground project room struggling to give visibility to artists in Albania,

  • Steirischer Herbst

    (Web exclusive content)

    With symposia, concerts, screenings, readings, installations, and performances happening in over twenty-five venues across the city of Graz, this year’s steirischer herbst revived the specters of fascism and its dissenters while addressing important questions about the shape-shifting, contradictory nature of the contemporary commons. Curated by Ekaterina Degot and titled Volksfronten (Popular Fronts), its vast artistic program, which included almost seven hundred participants, disrupted historical and contemporary forms of universality—and their accompanying

  • MEMORY LOSS

    IN ŽILINA, a gray industrial city in northwestern Slovakia, stands the Nová Synagóga, a Neolog synagogue designed by the illustrious German architect Peter Behrens (1868–1940). Constructed between 1928 and 1931, the building blends historicism and modernism: The pronounced dome, inscribed with a golden ornamental motif of the Star of David, is reminiscent of the previous generation’s taste for Byzantine-inspired synagogues; its severe rectilinear exterior and relatively monochromatic facade, meanwhile, broadcast the building’s association with the International Style. Able to house 450 men and

  • École(S) de Nice

    IN 1961, Yves Klein, one of Nice’s most famous sons, heralded the coastal metropolis’s significance in a global art landscape. Delivering a prescient conjecture about our present moment, the artist who had notoriously “signed” the azure sky of Nice as his first artwork announced: “I see a new art axis: Nice–Los Angeles–Tokyo; we will be joined by China.”

    More than fifty years after this pronouncement, and only a year and a half after the Bastille Day terrorist attack on the city’s iconic Promenade des Anglais, Klein’s hometown staged an ambitious series of exhibitions across four separate venues,

  • Judith Hopf

    Judith Hopf is the first to note that her art emerges from a particular historical constellation: Nurtured in the Berlin scene of the early 1990s, she is invested in an expanded field of “post-painting” practices, collective production, and social engagement, which she infuses with a blend of comedy and critique. It is no accident that her brick and laptop sculptures, prime examples of such idiosyncratic combinations, will be central to the KW exhibition. This former margarine factory in the Mitte district became the city’s pioneering institution of

  • “Arieh Sharon: The State’s Architect”

    Born in Poland in 1900 as Ludwig Kurzmann, Arieh Sharon immigrated to Palestine in his teens, and then moved to Germany to study architecture at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926. After working in the Berlin office of Hannes Meyer, Sharon went on to design more than six hundred projects before his death in 1984. Appointed by David Ben-Gurion to head the Department of Planning in 1948, the architect spearheaded the “Physical Plan for Israel,” commonly known as the Sharon Plan, which assimilated the thousands of Jewish immigrants arriving in the Middle East and contributed to

  • “Kader Attia: The field of emotion”

    For more than two decades, French-Algerian artist Kader Attia has used different media—including sculpture, installation, photography, and video—to develop the concept of repair as an “endless process of intellectual, cultural, and political adjustments.” At the crux of Attia’s investigation is the strategy of reappropriation, a tactic illuminated in a wide constellation of historical references, such as the writings of Frantz Fanon. Attia’s far-reaching, intersectional practice transverses historical and cultural axes, pointing to the

  • BORDER AS FORM

    INAUGURATED BY ARNOLD BODE in 1955 in the bombed-out ruins of Kassel, a formerly industrial city that ended up on the eastern fringes of what had newly become West Germany, Documenta was famously intended to heal the wounds of recent European history by affirming the continuity of (Western) modernism. At the core of this civilizing mission was abstraction, whose formal language became a symbol of individualism and artistic freedom, and a means to differentiate West from East in the early years of the Cold War. Kassel thus became the stage for the construction of the contemporary in relation to

  • Sharon Ya’ari

    In the exhibition “Officers’ Pool,” Sharon Ya’ari continued his long-standing consideration of photography’s double capacity to function as both a documentary mechanism and an intervention in reality. Building on this paradoxical multivalence, the show investigated the complex relationship between image production and nation building by juxtaposing two distinct bodies of work featuring landscapes of Israel from different historical periods and geographical locations.

    In the main space, the artist exhibited a series of photographs that originated as slides taken by anonymous amateur photographers,

  • Yto Barrada

    Yto Barrada’s video Faux départ (False Start), 2015—an investigation of the artisanal production of fake fossils—served as something like an establishing shot for her recent exhibition “The Sample Book.” The film follows the exacting methods used to fabricate historical specimens in a location somewhere “between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara desert,” and considers why specific modes of labor have cropped up to meet the needs of particular capitalist markets. Though we do not witness a single transaction—the camera is closely focused on the physical strain and remarkable skill

  • “Conditions of Political Choreography”

    Mining the current intensification of nationalism in Germany and Israel, this collaboration between Tel Aviv’s CCA and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein explores the political and formal limits of belonging, artistic disciplines, and imposed structures through performative interventions. Each iteration of this show will include an arena (built by architect Markus Miessen for the CCA and by artist Ohad Meromi for the NBK) delineating the spatial parameters in which a multigenerational cast of artists, theorists, dancers, and