backdoor productions

Art and the financial crisis

Posted in Uncategorized by backdoorprod on January 6, 2010

The financial crisis that started for full in 2007, has in many ways left the art market in a limbo. The art bubble of the noughties has burst and it is very unlikely that the contemporary art world as we have known it post 1989 will ever be the same again. However, just as the government and the financial marks fail to acknowledge the fundamental problems behind the mess, and therefore also fail to rightly adapt to the necessary reforms and changes that is needed, the arts world continue to embrace a structure and a paradigm that is just as unsustainable as the continuing rise in the value of houses.  In some ways, one may not blame them for this, as it is almost impossible to leave an old failed paradigm until a new paradigm is being defined. It is nevertheless, important for the arts world to acknowledge that it cannot see itself separated from what is happening in the rest of society in general but that it too will necessarily have to face up to the realities.

The art world is closely related to its markets and the way these changes. In the beginning of the 1990’s, when there was a small recession and little money in the arts market, artists, survived by widening the roles and the practices of art.  Artists were not only making art in the strict sense of the word, but they were also working as curators, producing exhibitions, they started galleries, wrote articles, lectured, worked as consultants and so forth. It was particularly the emergence of the independent curator role that came to change the very notion of what art means. It also changed the very role of the artist.

During the noughties, cheap credit strengthened the art market drastically.  The new, unprecedented boom in the arts world, made it in the end difficult to tell the difference between a city boy and a curator or even an artist. The arts world turned as branding friendly as shiny and sleek as any major corporation in the city.   There are few moments that symbolizes this better than the Damien Hirst auction at Christie’s the day after the fall of Lehmann Brothers, September 2008. Hirst will, for both good and bad, symbolize both the beginning and the end of an era in art that started in 1989 and gradually vanished in 2007.

For Real

Posted in Uncategorized by backdoorprod on June 1, 2007

“This isn’t some kind of metaphor. Goddam this is real!”
Shellac “The Squirrel song”

Lovesick


lovesick took place in Bergen, Norway, Opening in Bergen Kunsthall – Bergen Contemporary Art Centre on the 12th of October, 2001 and closed the 4th of November same year.
In addition to the exhibition in Bergen Contemporary Art Centre’s foyer and two rooms, Lovesick also featured a performance programme for Landmark.The exhibition furthermore appeared in several other locations in Bergen including gallery Fisk art, gallery temp where Grand Royal art showed their exhibition Love Tutorials, gallery Flexibox.

Some Lovesick artists

Camila Sposati

For Lovesick, the Brazilian born artist, Camila Sposati showed the video Talk to Me, a three minute long video that was filmed from a police helicopter, cruising over Sao Paolo during daytime through to the night. The surveillance pictures of the cityscape is furthermore accompanied by a soundtrack of a dialogue between a man and a woman who do not appear in the same frame of communication though in the same place. Spoken in Brazilian Portuguese, the dialogue us subtitled into English over the cityscape as part of the image.

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Stills from Camila Sposati’s video “Talk to me”.

Fabienne Audeoud

French artist Fabienne Audeoud presented the video “She Prepared the Staging of her Own Death” where she reconstructed a Hollywood divas suicide. The diva, unable to make the transition from silent to sound films decides to make the suicide her most memorable performance. She overdoses on pills and alcohol, but not as planned she vomits, shits, falls and cracks her skull upon the toilet. Her last glamourous performance ends in a rather unpleasent disaster. This video follows a series of both staged live performances as well as video-performances where the artist explores the different emotional aspects related to murder and suicide in art. Audeoud was shortlisted for Becks Futures 2 in 2001 for her collaborative work with John Russel. She has also exhibited in group shows in Bregenzer Kunstvereinung, Camden Art Center, ICA, South London Gallery, and Tate Modern, Ormeaubath Gallery Belfast. This autumn she is showing in New York.

Olof Bjornsdottir

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From the opening of Lovesick at Bergen Kunsthall and Bjornsdottir’s performance “Massage Makes the People come Together”. Photo: Bendik Johnsen

The Icelandic artist Bjornsdottir holds an MA from Goldsmiths College and has for a long time been interested in reflexology and performative intimacy. For Lovesick she instructed students in physiotherapy to massage the audience for the opening in an action called “Massage Makes the People Come Together.” She will invite visitors for a massage, working on the area beneficial for the release of emotion and creative imagination. While the recipient received the Beneficial Squeeze, they were also asked to write romantic stories on a laptop.

Monika Ross

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“But aside from the function of the copy as a method of reproduction, a method of study and a source of solution to formal problems … there are other reasons for making copies. Perhaps the most profound is the desire to pay homage … to copy as an act of love.” – Michael Ayrton

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Monika Ross at work with her “Act of Love”, translating an English version of Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” into Norwegian during the opening of Lovesick.
Monika Ross hanging the result of the digitally derived translations of Walter Benjamin’s work. Both photos: Bendik Johnsen

Monika Ross work deals with the production of text in relation to digital media. She appropriates theoretical texts by digitally translating them. She is again doing this by the use of her own handwriting. digitally transferring
For Lovesick, she presented a new work,”Act of Love(Norwegian translation)” where she for several hours would copy, into the virtual space of computer files Walter Benjamins famous essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” She made a copy of a translation in Norwegian, a language she has no knowledge of, using a wacom pad. Act of Love accumulated into a series of computer scripts as a drawing on the gallery wall. During the performance, print outs of the transcription in progress was available for visitors to take away and a cd- rom containing documents from the entire activity was available during the remaining period of the Lovesick exhibition.

Moss also used the opportunity to present her newly launched book Valentine, produced by the Milch Gallery, London. It is a bookwork developed from a series of performances which took place between 1994-1998. The book has an extensive inventory which has been contributed by various people over time.
Grand Royal Art

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Grand Royal Art consisted of four female members from Sweden and Norway. They were Johanna Rylander, Anne Szefer Karlsen, Siri Ekker Svendsen and Heidi Nikolaysen. For Lovesick they made the show Love Turials that was shown at Gallery Temp. Love tutorials was divided into a four-part soundinstallation where all the members of the art group read extracts from different texts. Heidi read a series of histories from every day life, siri read a poetry about someone else, Johanna made a CD with birdsongs, and anne whispered a series of words into the ears of the listener. Their contribution to Lovesick also consisted of the video no-sex by Anne that looped sounds from a bed creeking. Johanna also made pictures with embroderies of her own hair with the title “Where is he who will sweep me off my feet.”

Sabine Glaßer

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Picture shows detail from Glasser’s multiple art installation “Kiss”. Photo:Courtesy of the artist.

The German artist Sabine Glaßer, presented her work Kiss, a multiples project of over two hundred lips, or kisses, cast out of pink wax and screwed unto wall. The wax-sculpted kisses functioned not only as an installation, but functions also as a multiple art project, as they are all for sale.
Alongside these sculptures, she also showed a video about the meeting and the tension between herself and her girlfriend’s tongue.

Anita Ponton

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Anita Ponton is a London-based video and performance artist who for several years has been running Hydra, a live art organisation. She has also participated at the Venice Biennale. For Lovesick, she did two different performances. The pictures shows the performance she did in Landmark the 13th of October called “Seen. Unsaid.” Photo:Bendik Johnsen

Pictures from the opening

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