Sven Lütticken

  • “The Subversive Charm of the Bourgeoisie”

    Like many European and American museums, the Van Abbemuseum was founded by a wealthy industrialist. In “The Subversive Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” artworks and documents from the museum’s collections were combined with recent works that are said to contain “bourgeois elements.” In a Europe beset by discussions about (the need for) a renewal of bourgeois values or of a bourgeois lifestyle, such an exhibition is timely, although it turned out to be at least as confused as those discussions. In the media, the historical—and by now largely defunct—bourgeoisie is often turned into a caricature; various

  • Jean-Luc Moulène

    Jean-Luc Moulène’s 2005 project Le Monde, Le Louvre (which lent this show its title) took the form of a color supplement to the Parisian daily Le Monde and a small presentation at the Louvre. Stacks of Moulène’s supplement lay in front of the excavated walls of the medieval “Ancien Louvre,” as pointers to an adjacent exhibition space. Here, prints of the photographs reproduced in the paper were exhibited along with a video, Plus d’ordre, moins d’ordre (More Order, Less Order), 2005, that functions like an absurd making-of documentary: a ballet of hands with white gloves carefully handling

  • Melvin Moti

    Melvin Moti’s 16-mm film on DVD The Black Room, 2005, is a montage of two apparently disparate elements: footage of wall paintings from a village near Pompeii and a sound track consisting of an imaginary interview with the Surrealist poet Robert Desnos. In the interview, based on a variety of historical sources, a female voice interrogates “Desnos” about the famous/infamous “période des sommeils” just before the official launch of Surrealism, in 1922–23. During this period, the group around Breton experimented with hypnotic sleep, or trance. The interviewer voices her concern that the

  • “Populism”

    A SPECTER is haunting Europe—the specter of populism. In 2003, when curators Lars Bang Larsen, Cristina Ricupero, and Nicolaus Schafhausen were first making plans for a group of exhibitions dealing with the question, Europe was just reeling from the rise and murder of the populist right-wing Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. By the time their “Populism” project finally appeared in various European venues last summer—the endeavor featured coinciding group shows in Vilnius, Oslo, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt—populist movements in opposition to (and sometimes within) traditional political parties had become

  • Nicholaus Schafhausen

    GERMAN-BORN CURATOR Nicolaus Schafhausen has been newly appointed as director of Witte de With in Rotterdam, replacing interim director Hans Maarten van den Brink and taking a position held by Catherine David from 2002 to 2004. Until recently, Schafhausen headed the Frankfurter Kunstverein, where he instigated a focused program of exhibitions, lectures, and publications that turned the Kunstverein into one of Europe’s most interesting art spaces. Among his achievements in Frankfurt were shows by Liam Gillick (1999), Gerard Byrne (2003), and Cerith Wyn Evans (2004), as well as exhibitions for

  • Lisa Oppenheim

    In Lisa Oppenheim’s show “Parallax View” there was a constant tension between easily readable images and those that are utterly indecipherable and entropic. The gallery’s back room contained photographs from the series “Upside-Down Portraits” (all works 2005), consisting of images printed directly from daguerreotypes in the US Library of Congress. The enlarged black-and-white prints of these oxidized, scratched, and generally degraded daguerreotypes are informe surfaces that can no longer be related to titles such as Unidentified Elderly Woman with Cap—all the more so since they are upside

  • Johan Grimonprez

    Johan Grimonprez’s new project Looking for Alfred, which centers on Alfred Hitchcock, is a work in progress. What was shown at Bozar—the quasi-hip new name of the Palais des Beaux-Arts or Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, whose only redeeming feature is that it is the same in French and Flemish—was a six-minute video, dated 2004–2005, accompanied by footage and photos of casting sessions as well as storyboards. The casting sessions show the artist looking for the perfect Hitchcock look-alike and sound-alike; video footage of the sessions is overlaid with a Hitchcockian voice telling a version of the

  • Roy Villevoye

    Starting out as an abstract painter interested in the cultural and political connotations of colors, Roy Villevoye began working with photography, installation, and video in the mid-’90s, often making works based on his stays in the Asmat region of New Guinea. Villevoye confronted his position as (potentially) neo-colonial outsider by taking frontal photographs of Papuans holding sheets of paper in magenta, cyan blue, and yellow—the primary colors used in printing. In fact, Villevoye often turns his photographs into monumental four-color prints, consisting of countless dots of magenta, cyan,

  • Rirkrit Tiravanija

    The format of the retrospective exhibition seldom varies, no matter how ill suited it is to a particular artist’s work. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s midcareer survey at the Boijmans—subtitled “A Retrospective (Tomorrow Is Another Fine Day)”—was exceptional in its drastic problematization of the genre’s conventions: There were no works or even remnants of works, only crude, empty plywood simulacra of seven gallery spaces in which Tiravanija exhibited over the past fifteen years. Walking through this show of voids, one encountered various sound tracks, various voices: Loudspeakers in several rooms broadcast

  • Sean Snyder

    Because his works often deal with globalization and contemporary urbanism, Sean Snyder is sometimes expected to come up with clear-cut statements and slogans. His latest solo exhibition demonstrated his determination to frustrate such hopes. Analepsis, 2004, is a silent montage of re-establishing shots and sequence shots from TV news programs; static takes, pans, zooms, and aerial shots pass in a strange parade, with no clues as to the stories the footage was meant to illustrate. The triumph of visibility creates blankness, a database of visual clichés lacking the semblance of meaning usually

  • Folkert de Jong

    Folkert de Jong makes anti-monuments out of Styrofoam—transitory tableaux for a culture in which the permanence and eternal values symbolized by bronze or marble are all too obviously lies. Not that de Jong is averse to using apparently anachronistic elements: His sculptures and installations clearly engage in a dialogue with traditional figurative sculpture. Yet in this dialogue everything is transformed, in part precisely by the use of fragile and vernacular materials, in part by his iconography. De Jong’s tableaux are grotesque and gothic, steeped in horror, comics, and fantasy.

    In 2003 de

  • Lars von Trier’s Dogville

    THE DOGME 95 “Vow of Chastity” notwithstanding, purity isn’t high on Lars von Trier’s agenda. Dogme’s refusal of certain resources and techniques is aimed less at establishing a “pure” filmic practice than at stimulating greater awareness and more conscious use of conventions. Strict rules can be liberating rather than oppressive, so long as they haven’t hardened into multiplex clichés. Although his new feature, Dogville, isn’t a Dogme film, von Trier has nevertheless imposed strict constraints on himself, shooting entirely on a soundstage. The set consists mainly of outlines and blueprints