Before and after, A Demarcation
in Time on the World's Axis
By ANDREAS BEITLIN
and MARTIN HARTUNG
The essence of Jackson’s current work pivots on questions relating to the cultural impact of the atom bomb. In the form of an artistic debate on the substance and future of the American dream, the artist weaves its aftereffects into his works. Accordingly, the title of the exhibition cites Paul Virilio’s The Information (original: La bombe informatique, Authors: Andreas Beitin, Martin Hartung Paris: Galilée, 1998), in which the French philosopher decodes the consequences of supreme scientific achievements against the background of information technology. The exhibition brings together paintings, sculptures and videos, the majority of which were especially produced for the exhibition at the ZKM.
The works presented are placed in relation to one another so as to unfold the cosmos of Jackson’s world of ideas. Here, the works on show are grouped around two key pieces: the large-scale sculpture Axis Mundi (2011) and the Kiloton Room (2013).
Staged in front of a gigantic illustration of the universe taken from the space telescope Hubble, the high-gloss polished cockpit of a B-29 bomber of the large-scale sculpture Axis Mundi is presented as an artifact of the space age. For Jackson, the large-scale sculpture is a reference to the site of the beginning of a new world order emerging from destruction — indeed, from a B-29 bomber from which the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Jackson’s art, historical interpretation and vision of the immediate present go hand-in-hand: whereas the cockpit brings to mind the all-pervasive power and destructive fantasies of the "spaceship" USA against the background of the Cold War — which led to a hitherto unparalleled arms race with the USSR — today, in a sublimated form, this relationship is reflected in the worldwide struggle for resources. It is invariably the same and frequently fatal race for the "faster, the bigger, the better." On the other hand, the spectrum of the rainbow as materialized in different objects points to a utopian claim, which is not only inherent in art, but also in technology.
As a central counterpart to Axis Mundi, a huge cube is installed which, with its edge size measuring 8.46 m, and a volume of approximately 600 cubic meters, corresponds to a spatial extension of 1 kiloton of TNT. This mass is, in turn, the equivalent of the minimal explosive power of one atom bomb, which thematically completes the circle with the B-29 bomber. The potential destructive force overtaxes the imagination, and the incomprehensible is represented on a spatial as well as technical level. In this •Kiloton Room•, the center of which corresponds to a perfect ’white cube’, hangs the burned out urban landscape of the historical city of Paris. Retrospect, disastrous prospect, limitless white and the deepest black face each other.
Against the background of social and atomic power relations, in a variety of ways, Matthew Day Jackson transforms history in complex, sculptural entities, the formal origins of which are to be found in a diverse sampling culture. The artist’s new pictorial work juxtaposes the myths of the universe and their exploration with the historical events of atomic tests.
Filmically, these are connected with a four-part new production of the historic TV series In Search of..., which — moderated in the 1970s by Leonard Nimoy — sought answers to historical inconsistencies and paranormal phenomena.
Matthew Day Jackson >>
Matthew Day Jackson Axis Mundi, 2011, various Materials (repurposed cockpit of a B29 aircraft), private Collection Courtesy Matthew Day Jackson and Hauser & Wirth, © Photo: Peter Mallet.
Emil Nolde, Rote und gelbe Sonnenblumen, detail.
Emil Nolde, 'I Love the Music of Colors'
The lushly colored paintings reveal the complexity of Nolde’s lifeworld. What they all share is the emotional power of color. Manfred Reuther: “From the beginning of his painterly work, Nolde’s artistic development was the path to color as an ultimate means of expression, which he increasingly mastered.” Nolde was convinced: “Colors were a joy to me, and I felt as if they loved my hands.” His colorful paintings and watercolors testify to his affinity with nature and his search for primal human states.
Emil Nolde >>
Dale Chihuly, Glass Forest #5, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle (Washington), 2012.
Dale Chihuly, New and Revisited Glass in Montreal
Dale Chihuly has executed a stunning exhibition of glass sculptures specifically designed for Montreal Museum of Fine Art's interior architecture, with works that reveal this artist’s powerful creative vision. Born in 1941, Chihuly is recognized worldwide for having revolutionized the Studio Glass movement, elevating glass, his favorite material, from the realm of craft to that of fine art. He has raised the art of blown glass to the level of large-scale sculpture.
Dale Chihuly >>
Allen Ginsberg interview by Jean-Pierre Mirouze, Shakespeare & Company, 1965, © Jean-Michel Humeau.
Another Road after World War II and the Bomb
By JEAN-JACQUES LEBEL
This is not, in a classic sense, an exhibition, where works are hung on walls, but far more a visual and acoustic anthology; a sensuous experience, a fantastic world full of projected images and a virtual stroll through a major multicultural movement that emerged during the Second World War in New York, and which spread throughout the world from 1955 onwards.
Beat Generation >>
bOb van Reeth. Holocaust museum – Kazerne Dossin, Mechelen, © Stijn Bollaert.
bOb van Reeth, near 50 Years of Design Milestones
bOb Van Reeth (°1943), Flemish architect and urbanist of international repute, is best known for the Van Roosmalen house, the Zuiderterras and the redevelopment of the Groenplaats in Antwerp, the Koning Boudewijn stadium in Brussels and Java island in Amsterdam, to name but a few. In 1972, Van Reeth set up the Architect Work Grou,p AWG. He also works as a professor at the Henri Van de Velde Institute in Antwerp and was the first to hold the office of Flemish Government Master Architect.
bOb van Reeth >>
to Local Effects
13th Ballad, an installation by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, is an extension of the artist’s 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, which was co-produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago for dOCUMENTA (13), the international art exhibition in Kassel, Germany. For 13th Ballad, Gates creates a new large-scale installation in the MCA’s Kovler Atrium that comprises objects and materials from the Huguenot House, along with a monumental double cross sculpture and carved wooden pews which create an ecclesiastical ambience to suggest that art museums, like churches, are sites of pilgrimage and thoughtful contemplation. 13th Ballad is accompanied at the MCA by a series of collaborative performances. The exhibition is co-organized by Michael Darling, MCA James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, and Kristin Korolowicz, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow.
Theaster Gates’ practice includes performance, sculpture, installation, and large-scale urban interventions. He created 12 Ballads for Huguenot House as part of his ongoing efforts toward architectural and social rejuvenation in his South Chicago neighborhood, such as his refurbishment of an abandoned store into a studio and house for himself on Dorchester Avenue. This effort was expanded to an abandoned house nearby, which the artist and a team of laborers from the neighborhood prepared for renovation and rebirth as a cultural center, and used the repurposed materials to make both functional objects and purely aesthetic creations.
For 12 Ballads, Gates used those items and materials in the renovation of a dilapidated historic building in Kassel called the Huguenot House, resulting in a poetic exchange of material and music. Before the Huguenot’s sister house in Chicago was carefully disassembled, Gates’ collaborators, the Black Monks of Mississippi, recorded a series of songs and performances in the South Side home, footage of which was screened in Kassel and accompanied by another set of performances. The MCA Screen gallery reprises key aspects of 12 Ballads for Huguenot House. Functional objects and ephemera Gates and his team created for dOCUMENTA (13) are showcased.
For the atrium installation, Gates repurposed a set of pews from Bond Chapel, the University of Chicago’s campus church. The pews were removed from the chapel in order to offer Muslim students a place to pray, a symbolic gesture of religious tolerance that resonates with the religious persecution of the Huguenots, who were forced to flee to Protestant nations such as Prussia (modern-day Germany) between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Performances 13th Ballad is accompanied by a series of three collaborative performances entitled The Accumulative Affects of Migration 1-3, with Yaw Agyeman, Khari Lemuel, Tomeka Reid, Joshua Abrams, Mikel Avery, Orron Kenyatta and friends from the Chicago classical music community. University of Chicago scholar David Levin, musician and composer Michael Drayton, and Theaster Gates create a new body of music based on the work of 19th-century composer, Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Delta blues musician Muddy Waters.
In the exhibition catalogue 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, Theaster Gates chronicles his ambitious project to unite two unused buildings — one in Chicago and one in Kassel, Germany — by using parts of each to rebuild the other.
Theaster Gates >>
Theaster Gates, 12 Ballads for the Huguenot House, 2012. Installation view, Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany. Image courtesy of Kavi Gupta CHICAGO I BERLIN.