Valérie Knoll

  • Christian Jankowski

    The title of Christian Jankowski’s recent show, “Was ich noch zu erledigen habe” (What I Still Need to Do), alludes to the nonstop schedule of many of those active in the art world, who often find it impossible to keep their work and free time separate. The show’s setting seemed perfect: The villa containing the gallery space also serves as owner Damian Grieder’s private refuge, fitting in well with Jankowski’s penchant for showing the permeability of art and everyday life, the public and the private.

    The words WARUM BIN ICH NICHT IN EINER BIENNALE? hung above the facade in large neon letters.

  • KLAT

    For their show at the Centre d’Art Contemporain, the artist collective KLAT (Jérôme Massard, Florian Saini, and Konstantin Sgouridis) constructed a sculpture, Tennessee Wiggler the Big Fat Worm aka le lombric cosmique, 2009, whose form is particularly striking: a fifty-five-yard-long giant earthworm (lombric) made primarily of clay, occupying an entire floor of the center. Impressive for its sheer physical presence, this amusement-park fixture also served as a thought-provoking model for correlating ecological and cultural systems. The so-called Tennessee wiggler, an actual type of

  • “Deterioration, They Said”

    “Deterioration, They Said” brought together a group of artists who belong to the MTV generation, having grown up with early forms of the video aesthetic and the ascendant technologies of the 1980s and ’90s. The formative years of Cory Arcangel, Jessica and Jacob Ciocci/Paper Rad, Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, and Shana Moulton were dominated by both television and the Internet, with their cornucopia of possibilities for reproduction and interconnectedness. Their works constitute a retort to those cultural critics who charge that the surfeit of information inevitably leads both to desensitization

  • PROVENCE, John Knight and Ghislain Mollet-Viéville

    During Art Basel, the first issue of PROVENCE, “An Eight-Issue Magazine Dedicated to Hobbies” was launched by Daiga Grantina, Tobias Kaspar, and Hannes Loichinger at a neighborhood café. It was accompanied by an exhibition, curated by Egija Inzule, that stayed on view for five days. The entire project succeeded as an ingenious gesamtkonzeption.

    Nowadays, it is rare for cultural players to indulge in hobbies that are not connected to their work. All activities tend to contribute to the production of a trademark identity, a dual instrumentalization of work and leisure that is the result of the

  • Martin Soto Climent

    The site-specific show titled “The Intimate Revolt”—quoting the book of the same name by Julia Kristeva—literally closed itself off from the viewer: The gallery was locked and could not be entered. Instead, one had to view the show through a long rectangular slot set into an interior wall that separated the exhibition space from the gallery’s entryway. How disorienting to find oneself standing before a locked door during a gallery’s open hours, and to have to view the show from a distance! The exhibition was thus reduced to a framed picture. We wandered through it with our eyes rather than our

  • Teresa Margolles

    The Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, who trained in forensic medicine, recounts facts that are not exactly easy to digest. On the one hand, she takes as her theme the escalating criminality and extremely high murder rate in Mexico; on the other, the sociopolitical problems that accompany the massive body count. Many of the victims do not receive proper funerals and are consigned to the anonymity of mass graves, either because they are unidentifiable or because their families cannot afford the expense. What is difficult for many viewers to bear about Margolles’s creations is the drastic nature

  • Christodoulos Panayiotou

    “Act I: The Departure,” as this show was titled, brought together four recent works by Cypriot artist Christodoulos Panayiotou under the aegis of the Lausanne art festival Les Urbaines. Inspired by anthropology, Panayiotou often casts himself in the role of a scientist doing field studies, in order to shed light on the manifestations and myths of “cultural performances” such as rituals and festivals. In the silent color video Untitled, 2008, a palimpsest of shots of various firework displays form an undifferentiated spectacle. Fireworks—a popular allegory for the theatrum mundi ever since the

  • picks January 06, 2009

    Dawn Mellor

    One hundred and thirty striking portraits––from Theodor Adorno to Slavoj Žižek, Barack Obama to Keira Knightley––are installed salon-style in this exhibition and collectively form “Vile Affections,” 2007–2008, by the British artist Dawn Mellor. Often employing familiar pictures of the beautiful and powerful cultural elite in her work, Mellor drastically modifies such imagery through severed body parts, ghastly faces, and protruding innards. Mellor deconstructs the hierarchical relationship between celebrities and fans, as well as myths and stereotypes associated with such luminaries, in a manner

  • Karen Kilimnik

    The entrance to Karen Kilimnik’s exhibition featured a fake eighteenth-century portal made of colorful imitation marble. The title of this decorative piece of fanfare, The “Who Is Killing The Great Chefs of Europe” Bomb, 2008, plays on the 1978 satirical murder mystery film Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, which tells of the rivalry between culinary innovators, murderers, and food critics. Such an allusion set the stage for yet another episode of Kilimnik’s continuing mise-en-scène of taste, in which autobiographical reflection and a tumult of cultural references tirelessly camouflage

  • Arthur Zalewski and Eiko Grimberg

    “The infinitely identical and the infinitely varied are extremes between which all man can do is split things apart and put them together again,” Paul Valéry wrote in his Cahiers in 1918. In his view, similarity is what activates the intellectual free play between identity and difference. Arthur Zalewski and Eiko Grimberg, who have exhibited together before, notably at Amerika Gallery, Berlin, in 2006, share a comparably sensitive view of objects and their mutual affinities. The six works presented in this carefully calibrated show—two videos, a slide projection, photographs, and a poster, most

  • “9 Evenings Reconsidered”

    9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering took place at the New York Armory in 1966. This intensely ambitious—almost monumental—series of events was presented over nine evenings under the aegis of Billy Klüver, then still working as an electrical engineer at Bell Laboratories. The performances, which involved complex technologies, were conceived by ten well-known artists of the postwar avant-garde (Steve Paxton, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor, Yvonne Rainer, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Robert Whitman, and Öyvind Fahlström) in close collaboration with a team of over thirty

  • Stefan Burger

    This past February, the Munich factory of Agfa met its downfall in a spectacular but quite deliberate explosion, thanks to the unprofitability of film-based photography. The monument’s demolition became an allegory for a vanishing era of analog technology, all the more so because video documentation of its collapse was distributed on digital platforms such as YouTube. Stefan Burger takes this collapse as the topic of his elegant and theatrical installation Analoges Denkmal (Analog Monument) (all works 2008). A 16-mm projector plays a looped silent film of this very explosion onto the wall. The

  • Gabríela Fridriksdóttir

    Images reveal something and show themselves, and therein lies their power. Gabríela Fridriksdóttir’s extraordinary iconographies, developed in drawings, paintings, sculptures, and, most succinctly, in technically impeccable films, draw upon a complex network of sign systems found in various cultures’ myths and sagas. But the Icelandic artist narrates her films, in which no words are spoken, through the immensely beguiling power of images alone. The fifteen-minute video Ouroboros, 2007, was the heart of her recent exhibition, shown inside a large wooden cube erected in the middle of the gallery

  • Gardar Eide Einarsson

    Some critics refer to Gardar Eide Einarsson’s work as “political,” while others complain that his art is not only visually insubstantial but offers too little content; more neutral voices speak of the “contradictory” nature of his work. The Norwegian artist’s first solo show in Switzerland, organized in cooperation with the Frankfurt Kunstverein and curated by Katya García-Antón, brought together a large selection of his work from 2004 to 2007. Like relics left behind after a stage production, these paintings, flags, videos, and light boxes, often arranged in series and almost exclusively

  • picks March 25, 2008

    Bruno Serralongue

    “The only thing that might interest me is the lack of aesthetic orientation,” said artist Bruno Serralongue, in an interview, as he described the impetus behind his photographs. Using the methods of photojournalism in order to subvert them, Serralongue, like Alfredo Jaar and Allan Sekula, attempts to find a constructive way of navigating the endless proliferation of media images whose “ecology,” to use Susan Sontag’s term from her book Regarding the Pain of Others, we can no longer hope to find. As a reporter with no assignment or accreditation yet thoroughly equipped with, for example, a

  • picks February 12, 2008

    Emil Michael Klein

    The visitor unintentionally walks straight past the first piece, displayed at the entrance to this show, which comprises white paper and clear lacquer that Emil Michael Klein has used to cover, almost imperceptibly, one wall—an area that, due to its high gloss and minimal color modulation, stands out only subtly from its surroundings. The work shows Klein’s casual but precise handling of familiar art-historical categories like planarity and objectness. If the edges of the wall constitute a frame, the work becomes a monochrome painting. As with Jasper Johns’s flags, however, the background and

  • Christoph Schlingensief

    Theater director, filmmaker, and political agitator Christoph Schlingensief has a reputation for pointing out society’s sore spots and affronting moral sensibilities with the drastic measures he employs in his ongoing fight against hypocrisy. His recent collaborations with art institutions are a consequence of his belief in the cross-pollination between various media such as film, theater, and visual art. “Querverstümmelung” (Crossmutilation), his solo show in Zurich, brings together Schlingensief’s central projects of the last two years as well as his work in experimental film, offering a

  • Urs Fischer

    A feeling of emptiness set in upon entering Urs Fischer’s exhibition “Large, Dark & Empty.” The viewer at first saw not the five cast aluminum and polyurethane sculptures on display but two huge expanses of mirrors: In both spaces, the opposite walls were mounted with mirrors that extended from ceiling to floor, confronting the visitor with her own image. Looking at the mirrored wall of death of a moment (all works 2007), one saw oneself and the entire room reflected—as well as the opposite room (and one’s back), mirrored in birth of a moment, in an endless repetition. Only at second glance

  • Alfredo Jaar

    “There is no torrent of images,” according to Jacques Rancière. In his essay for the catalogue to “La politique des images,” the recent retrospective devoted to Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, the philosopher writes that the oft-stated idea that there is an excess of images—seducing and anesthetizing us—is a cliché generated by the very machinery of power that lies behind these images. The media don’t show us too many images of the ugliness of our world, Rancière argues, but rather too few. Since the late ’70s, Jaar has used his sharp eye and great sensitivity to cast light on the

  • picks November 29, 2007

    Marc Bauer

    The dialogue between the Jewish poet Paul Celan and the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, a Nazi sympathizer, is fairly well known. It is perhaps less well known that in 1967 Heidegger invited Celan to go hiking with him in Todtnauberg in the Black Forest and that Celan had hoped this encounter would lead to Heidegger disavowing his Nazi sympathies. What was not said during that visit was reenvisioned by Celan shortly afterward in the poem “Todtnauberg.” This poem and Celan’s entry in the guest book in Heidegger’s chalet are Marc Bauer’s points of departure for his exhibition “Gegen mein