PRINT September 2001

International Shorts

Rachel Withers, Anne Pontégnie


Ow! Ow! For crying out loud, put down that cat-o'-nine-tails and pay attention. The Marquis de Sade wasn't just a connoisseur of eighteenth-century perversions. He was the driving force behind Surrealism's espousal of atheism, materialism, and erotics, argues “Sade/Surreal: The Marquis de Sade and the Erotic Imagination of Surrealism in Word and Image,” at the Kunsthaus Zürich from November 30 to March 3. Expect an orgy of hypothetical entanglements as Goya and Füssli's Enlightenment nightmares encounter the fantasies of Buñuel, Duchamp, Bellmer, et al. on the Sadeian operating table. Meanwhile, from November 8 to January 20, IVAM, Valencia, will rummage through the closets of the equally intriguing Claude Cahun, artist, philosopher, writer, and gender terrorist par excellence. Featuring about seventy photographs spanning her career, the show will also document her literary work and links with Breton, Bataille, and other key inter- and postwar figures.

At the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, performance art's marathon woman Marina Abramović takes time out from enduring pain to curate “Marking the Territory,” her weekend-long survey of the energies at work in contemporary performance. About twenty artists, including Paul Pfeiffer, Wim Delvoye, Amanda Coogan, and Ma Liuming, will move into action October 18. And then there's Paul McCarthy: Now he really knows how to have a bad time! The Hamburg Kunstverein's all-encompassing retrospective of McCarthy's often outrageous, often hilarious film and video work will include about seventy tapes, some previously unexhibited (Nov. 10–Jan. 27). Visitors can watch continuous screenings or select particular works from a video library—and may be well advised to take along a paper bag or bucket.

The Grazer Kunstverein, on the other hand, will probe the ecstasies rather than the agonies of altered states. With works by John McCracken, Angela Bulloch, and others, “Timewave Zero/The Politics of Ecstasy” (Oct. 6–Nov. 4) aims to expand visitors' consciousnesses “out of Western rationally based constraints.” Carsten Höller will program a film and video screening in a local bar, and an accompanying book will offer insights into drugs by writers such as Timothy Leary and Sadie Plant. Speaking of which, let's not forget “Jef Geys: 1962–2001,” on view at the Kunstverein München from October 13 to November 28. Geys's year-by-year paintings of the seed packets whose contents have stocked his garden will appear alongside an installation reflecting the variety of cultures in Munich's human borders; the grapevine will be kept informed via a special issue of Geys's newspaper, the Kempen Informatieblad.


For all you youngsters who won't remember, 1992 was the year of the Post Human—at least according to Jeffrey Deitch's landmark exhibition of that name. At the Castello di Rivoli from October 17 to January 13, Deitch updates “Post Human” themes with “Form Follows Fiction.” Watch out for recollapsing boundaries (between reality and illusion, high and low, past and future) as well as work by Amy Adler, Olafur Eliasson, Matthieu Laurette, and others. Basel's Museum für Gegenwartskunst will also be busy taking stock this fall—surveying the photographs of über-recyclist Richard Prince, in a show comprising some seventy prints from the late '70s to the present (Dec. 8–Feb. 24). In contrast, Maria Eichhorn's work doesn't lend itself easily to the retrospective format: Her interventions in social and economic situations—selling secondhand oddments to fund a refurbishment program or handing out free rail tickets at Leipzig's central station—are essentially site-specific and unrepeatable. Hence, the Kunsthalle Bern is billing Eichhorn's one-woman show as a “surprise”; all will be revealed on October 27 (through Dec. 9).

At London's Institute of Contemporary Arts from November 23 to January 13, Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno join forces with architect Francois Roche and graphics team M/M to revisit a topic that surely counts as a grand Continental tradition: the relationships between architecture and contemporary urban culture. There'll be much rewinding (and fast-forwarding) at the Kunsthalle Wien's capacious new premises from October 20 to January 6, in “Tele(visions),” an examination of artists as (re)viewers and reprogrammers of the boob tube. An epic checklist of exhibitors ranges from senior producers including Louise Lawler, Martha Rosler, and Allan McCollum to the whiz kids of the satellite and digital-TV generation: Art Club 2000, Daniel Pflumm, Candice Breitz, and others. Interference is likely, so do not adjust your set. And despite its title, the two-venue show “Futureland” promises to look as far back as forward, revealing strands of gloomy retrospection and off-color nostalgia in contemporary art's Utopian fantasies: Artists include Christian Jankowski, Grazia Toderi, and Aernout Mik (Städtisches Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, Germany, and Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo, the Netherlands, Sept. 23–Jan. 6).


“Africa—the heart of darkness . . . or the ‘chic continent'?” is the barbed question prefacing the Kunsthalle Wien's press release for “Flash Afrique.” On view from September 7 to November 11, the show brings together a variety of West African photographers’ narratives: from the studio portraits of Mali's Seydou Keïta to the tough urban images of Dorris Haron Kasco (Ivory Coast), by way of work by artists from Senegal and Ghana. One suspects the curators' answer will be “both and neither.” At the National Museum of Art, Osaka, “Museum as Subjects” (Oct. 25–Dec. it) proposes a new New Museology, bringing together work by Japanese and “foreign” artists: Hiroshi Sugimoto, Mark Dion, Fred Wilson, Yuji Takeoka, and others. The exhibition aims to further local discourse on the politics (and pleasures) of display; changes in national museum funding will doubtless lend those discussions a polemical edge. London's diverse communities will be treated to a compendious display of contemporary Japanese art this fall, in “Facts of Life: Japanese Contemporary Art” at the Hayward Gallery—the largest show of current Japanese work ever staged in the UK. Cocurated by Birmingham-based Jonathan Watkins and Kitakyushu's Nobuo Nakamura, it'll feature both established names—Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tatsuo Miyajima, and others—and an up-and-coming younger generation (Oct. 4–Dec. 9). And in New Zealand's capital city, the two-part show “Techno Maori: Maori Art in the Digital Age” (Sept. 28–Dec. 2) will survey Maori artists' diverse experiments with digital media. New Zealand's Venice Biennale representatives Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson are among the exhibitors at the Pataka Porirua Museum of Arts and Cultures and the City Gallery Wellington; the exhibition can be sampled internationally, via a website linking its two nonvirtual venues.

Rachel Withers



Never act with children or animals—and never with sets designed by photographers and video artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler; their subtly anomalous backdrops, false walls and floors, and strategically placed lighting have the uncanny capacity to upstage any actors they surround. “Wild Walls” at Krefeld's Haus Lange and Haus Esters (Sept. 9–Nov. 4) features ten years of artfully unreliable photos and two brand-new videos, including Eight, 2001, a veritable Chinese box of inside outsides. (Huis Marseille, Stichting voor Fotografie, Amsterdam, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, and Kunsthalle zu Kiel.)

Rachel Withers



Get ready to Drive a Crooked Road (1954) Toward the Unknown (1956): Incredible Installing Man Mike Nelson, at present basking in the White Heat (1949) of Venice Biennale fame and Turner Prize shortlisting, is keeping mum about his upcoming building-wide project at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (Sept. 28–Nov. 11)—but it's hinted that sci-fi- and B-movie-influenced assemblages will invade the ICA's “everyday” spaces, including the bar and restaurant. Tread Softly Stranger (1958)! Such Men Are Dangerous (1955).

Rachel Withers



On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth, the Middelheim Open Air Museum and the Hessenhuis, Antwerp, devote a double exhibition to abstraction's one-man band, Fernand Berckelaers, aka Michel Seuphor (1901–99). Critic, philosopher, designer, painter, and poet, the founder of the Circle and the Square group was the friend and champion of such artists as Mondrian, Larionov, Delaunay, and Marinetti before going on to become an important historian of abstraction. On view at the Hessenhuis will be works by Seuphor, a number of his friends, and several members of the Anvers avant-garde; the Middelheim will present Seuphor's archives and library, which it acquired last year, as well as a selection of sculpture that highlights the exceptional friendships of this celebrated historian and underrated artist (Sept. 7–Oct. 21).

Anne Pontégnie

Translated from French by Laura Hoffmann