Monday, June 22, 2015

Venice: Punta della Dogana – Slip of the Tongue Exhibition

Photograph courtesy Pinault Collection
Venice: Punta della Dogana – Slip of the Tongue Exhibition. The exhibition Slip of the Tongue, until December 31, at Punta della Dogana was conceived by artist Danh Vo in collaboration with Caroline Bourgeois, he is the first artist to curate an exhibition in the Tadao Ando space. CEO and director of Palazzo Grassi, Punta della Dogana and the Pinault Collection, Martin Bethenod writes “It brings together works by fifty artists, all eras confounded, ranging from illuminators from the Italian Quattrocento to artists who, with Danh Vo, form a living “cartography of friendship” in the words of Elisabeth Lebovici.  These works, along with several by Danh Vo, partake in an “exhibitory conversation”, to borrow Julie Ault’s graceful expression. 
“To avoid beginning ‘within the limits of the frame’, avoid art of the museum, the stuffy art of the exhibition, an art ‘that reeks of art’. Instead, to approach from above, below, or sideways, crossing through the frame, pointing out its limitations: that could be the basis of an exhibition.”
Wrote Patricia Falguieres in her correspondence with Vo during the early planning stages of Slip of the Tongue.
Above. Robert Manson –– Travaux des Champs et Animaux de la Ferme - series of 37 photographs – c.1950 – photographs Pinault Collection.
  photograph - Estudio Michel Zabe - 2013

Slip of the Tongue – Danh Vo. Curator and artist Danh Vo, was born in 1975 in Vietnam; he lives and works in Mexico City. His research is marked by the ideas of fragility and mutability. A process of intense accumulation and meticulous collection-ism are also at play: photographs, memories, fragments that are all, obviously, strong testimonies. His projects deal in large part with private life and desires, but they also address the question of identity and the paradoxes of Western societies. Furthermore, his work examines the ways in which contemporary ideas and objects are tightly connected and have been shaped over time by intercultural contacts and tales of trade, exchange and historical (counter) truths.
Above. Danh Vo - Log Dog – 2013 – and - Danh Vo - Log Dog (detail) – 2013 - Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City - Ph: Estudio Michel Zabe, 2013.
Slip of the Tongue - Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini - Head of Christ and Scroll. Fragments of a Transfiguration - 15th century (1500-1505) Oil on panel 33 × 22 cm (head of Christ), and 31 × 22 cm (tree and signature) Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.

Slip of the Tongue – David Hammons – Untitled – 2007
Made from a sheet of plastic pierced with holes, this painting is part of a series of paintings composed with shredded garbage bags, plastic sheets, old blankets, and used towels that covered, partially or fully, abstract traces painted on the canvas. These elements are used commonly in industry or construction and can be read as both a protective gesture—plastic sheets are used to protect, blankets to keep warm—and a violent one—it prevents one from seeing, forcing the viewer to look at the painting’s elements only at the edges or through the holes and gaps. The plastic eyelets curtain through which parts of the wall can be seen does not hide any other paint. Shown first at LandM Arts, New York, in 2011, this ready made draping the wall created a conflagration between the public visiting the gallery and the homeless people of a nearby refuge.

Slip of the Tongue – Roni Horn - Gold Field – 1982
The artist says that she wanted to “bring gold back to its simplest physical being.” She also mentioned that she wanted to have a closer relation with the sun. The folds and creases of the gold mat, which becomes more wrinkled in each exhibition, produce more sun-like effects. The display of Gold Field with one end folded is intended to get “even more light.”

Slip of the Tongue – Cube Gallery - Nancy Spero – Codex Artaud
1971 -72
Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud is a series of 37 collages. They are composed of sheets of paper glued together end to end in horizontal or vertical strips, which the artist originally conserved in scrolls, around a cardboard tube. The collages are numbered from I to XXXIIIC and three of them are diptychs. The choice of such format—horizontal or vertical irregular longstrips—is in sharp contrast with the usual, flat and framed rectangle that defines the Western painting tradition. Even though each scroll is now framed, it calls for a “peripheral” vision, as the artist herself declared in 2004. The material, Japanese paper, and the materialization process of each panel of the “scroll work” of Codex Artaud are equally remarkable. The sheets of paper are used as a support for collaged elements. Language and figurative images organize a confrontation and a constant slippage between the verbal and the visual. The texts, in capital letters, have been typed—mostly—with a bulletin typewriter, and torn or cut out before being glued to the fragile, vulnerable support. The figures painted in gouache—sometimes with addition of other mediums—are also cut out and glued on the support paper. Each of the occurrences of the Codex Artaud is thus composed of three different kinds of paper. Each panel undoes the heroic relation to painting conceived as direct expression and physical interaction with the canvas while emphasizing the “hand made” quality of all the collaged elements in gouache and ink (including the folds made by the glue during the processes of application and drying).
Slip of the Tongue – Cube Gallery – Marcel Broodthaers 
Armoire De Cuisine - 1966-68
This kitchen cabinet appears as a “cabinet of curiosities” in the same vein as the 16th and 17th century characteristic pieces of furniture that were designed (or represented in paintings) according to the collectors’ wishes. Indeed, as a collector’s artifact, this cabinet contains things that would seem odd in typical cuisine or in a kitchen. Except that this is an artist’s cuisine and that as such, it is linked to his manufacturing secrets. Eggs, for example, are a painting material Broodthaers used a lot: as shells, covering armchairs, stacked in a bowl (1967), placed in five pots with chicks (1966), in a cage or in plastic or cardboard boxes. “Everything is eggs. The world was born from the great yolk, the great yellow, the sun. Crushed egg shells, the moon. Egg dust, the stars. Everything dead egg.”  Numerous egg shells in egg cups, on dishes, in boxes—are placed outside and inside the kitchen cabinet, which contains also a number of elements of La Tour Visuelle (1966), glass jars, each containing the identical image of an eye.
Slip of the Tongue
Danh Vo - Chandelier from the Paris Majestic Hotel
Jean-Luc Mouline – Tronche/Moon (Paris,May 2014) - 2014
The  “Other curatorial projects by Danh Vo,” writes Elisabeth Lebovici, “combine both the personal and social dimensions of relationships around artists, some of whom he never met, such as Felix Gonzalez Torres, Martin Wong, as well as his friend Julie Ault. Some objects presented also carry both an individual and a collective meaning, such as the chandeliers of the Paris Majestic Hotel, above which were silent witnesses to the negotiations on the future of Vietnam, in 1975 - the same year the artist was born in Vietnam. In the light of this notion, one can also liken Danh Vo’s work “as artist” to the different kinds of caretaking that have sprung from this root word over the centuries.”
 Martin Bethenod
Slip of the Tongue – Jean-Luc Mouline – Rotor – 2015
The artist and his team of craftsmen developed their production technique—the interaction of cement garden sculptures that wear out as they rub against each other—while making L’Aigle, Haendel et la Pucelle. Here, the tool used to shape a statue is another statue, which is animated by the energy produced by the regular movement of a concrete mixer. Concerning the first of the series, the process is as follows: Haendel’s head turns and penetrates the body of the female figure, which is also worn out from a cross shape by the movement of the eagle. The materials used—concrete and cement—attest to the fact that they are garden sculptures.
  Courtesy Fondazione Giorgio Cini

Slip of the Tongue – Maestro Olivetano
Comunione degli Apostoli - 1439 - Fondazione Giorgio Cini -  Venezia
Slip of the Tongue – Danh Vo - Oma Totem - 2009
Refrigerator, washing machine, and TV: part of a package given to the artist’s maternal grandmother, Nguyen Thi Ty, by the Immigrant Relief Program upon arrival in Germany in the 1970s. Crucifix: gift from the Catholic Church. Personalized casino card entry pass: acquired independently. Nguyen immigrated to Germany and spent the rest of her life in Hamburg (instead of Denmark like the artist) as she was on a separate vessel intercepted at sea, rather than the boat captained by Phung Vo. The family made the decision to separate with the intention that it would give the “family line” as a whole a greater chance of survival. Oma Totem was first shown at the Galleria Zero in Milan in the exhibition Last Fuck, 2009.
Slip of the Tongue – Paul Thek – Towards An Abstract Icon – 1980
Slip of the Tongue – Elmgreen and Dragset
Powerless Structures Fig.13 - 2015
Powerless Structures, Fig. 11 presented a diving board whose base pierced through one of the panoramic windows of the museum, not without references to the homoerotic “Bigger Splash” of British artist David Hockney’s paintings of Californian swimming pools and young men diving into them. The diving board as materialized at the Louisiana Museum also showed the way towards the water since the museum is built on a hill near the North Sea. As such, it was an invitation to dream… But in order to understand the background of this work, it is useful to go back to the intellectual and historical context of the time. As artists interested in Institutional Critique, Elmgreen and Dragset were living at the time in the post-1989 era in Europe, when the role of the welfare state was at the core of the European debate. This issue was discussed in terms of flexibility but also of risk and safety. The Powerless Structures, Fig. 13 rebuilt for Punta della Dogana in Venice comes after Elmgreen and Dragset’s spectacular occupation of the Danish and Swedish pavilions at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Both pavilions had been transformed into the private properties of two collectors and neighbors: one a family and the other a single man. In the single man’s swimming pool, there was a body of a drowned man…
Slip of the Tongue – Charles Ray – Fish – 2011
Slip of the Tongue – Tetsumi Kudo – Votre Portrait – 1970-1975
“We cannot live without boxes. We are born from a box (womb), live our lives in a box (apartment), and after death we end up in a box (coffin),” wrote Kudo in 1976. Votre Portrait and Portrait of Artist in Crisis are the titles he uses to label these distinct boxes: birdcages and domestic aquariums containing fish decor, plastic fishes, and a thermometer to check the ambient temperature. He locked up imprints in resin of various parts of the body in the cage or aquarium, each presented as a spare part such as eyeballs, noses, ears, mouths with cigarettes, penises (which symbolize, according to Kudo, the “decomposition of human dignity”), hands and internal organs such as a brain in plastic, and excrement. All these “three-dimensional images,” as writes French critic Alain Jouffroy, are painted in pastel, fluorescent, and sometimes phosphorescent colors, manifesting the mutating condition of an artifact-body. The side of a face in molded polyester is either placed inside the aquarium or right next to it, or confined in the cage. Sometimes, it is flanked with bony hands that seem to be holding the space delimited by the bars or the Plexiglas. Sometimes the two brain hemispheres, only visible from behind, are inserted under the face, which may be that of the artist as a smoker.

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