Cologne Edit April-May 2014
Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Maybe This is A Dream
Kölnischer Kunstverein, 9 April – 1 June 2014
Swedish artist-and-composer duo Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg have achieved art-world prominence with their haunting Claymation videos. They explore the complexities of the human condition, while generally leaning towards the darker elements that inhabit it. Sinister tales of suffering, taboo-breaking explorations of sexual desires and, more often than not, graphic portrayals of violence make up the core of the works’ storylines. Rendered in Djuerberg’s signature style of magnificently handcrafted sets and characters, and accompanied by Berg’s enchanting musical scores, the titillating videos are tempting to the eye, and allure just as much as they disturb (or rather allure because they disturb?) while, formally speaking, they adopt the semblance of children’s animation.
Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Maybe This is a Dream, 2014, Installationsview Koelnischer Kunstverein, photo: Simon Vogel
Keren Cytter, Siren
Galerie Nagel Draxler, April 9 – 30 2014
The show includes two works by Israeli-born, New York-based artist Keren Cytter, winner of the 2009 Absolut Art Award: The new video Siren, which premiered earlier this year at the 10th Marrakech Biennale, and the piece Les Ruissellements du Diable from 2008, which constituted an important stage in the artist’s growing oeuvre. Cytter often opts for simple, not to say raw, technical means in her short films but rather than seeming driven by aesthetic motivations, the films appear all the more captivating with their pointed disregard to the more “sophisticated” possibilities of cinematic image making.
Keren Cytter “SIREN”, 2014
Installation view, Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne
Photo: Simon Vogel, Courtesy: Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne/Berlin
Museum Ludwig April 11–July 13, 2014
Zoodram 4, 2011. Living marine ecosystem, resin mask of La Muse endormie (1910) by Constantin Brancusi Photo: © Guillaume Ziccarelli
Last year, French artist Pierre Huyghe transformed Paris’ Centre Pompidou into a landscape rich with “live situations”—his preferred term for the semi-controlled environments he creates that are at once contingent and contained. The show surveys two decades of this important artist’s work and is making a stop in Cologne, and will travel to Los Angeles’ LACMA later this year. But Huyghe is not one to repeat the staging of his own work without letting it also accumulate traces of its own existence: Huyghe removed walls from Centre Pompidou, where before his survey a major Mike Kelley retrospective took place, and installed them within the architecture of Cologne’s Ludwig Museum.
Pierre Huyghe. L’Expédition scintillante, Act II (Light Box), 2002. Light box sculpture. Music: Gymnopédies 3 et 4 d’Erik Satie (1888) conducted by Claude Debussy. 200 x 190 x 155 cm. Installation views Centre Pompidou, 2013. Photo: © Pierre Huyghe
Pierre Huyghe. The Host and the Cloud, 2009-2010 Film, HD video, Farbe / color, Ton / sound, 2h, 1 min 30
Pierre Huyghe. Untilled, 2011-2012 (Detail). Site: animal and plant species, manufactured objects and minerals, variable period and dimensions Ausstellungsansicht / View of exhibition, Kassel, 2012. Commissioned and produced by documenta (13) with support from IAC, Colección Isabel y Agustin Coppel, Culiacan, Mexico; Fondation Louis Vuitton Pour la Cré- ation, Paris; Ishikawa Collection, Okayama, Japan. Photo © Pierre Huyghe
The walls are a case in point for Huyghe’s current obsession with transforming the space of representation by means of invasion and metaphoric as well as literal cross-pollination. Upon entering the exhibition in the museum’s lower floor, an announcer will shout your name into the hall, as if you were entering a royal ball. On the walls, holes still visible from the Kelley retrospective are now inhabited by ants. Dimmed lights and discrepant structures make the experience of walking through this space eerie, verging on the physically uncomfortable, so that when stumbling upon one of the larger niches for video works, one lingers with relief.
Among the live creatures that populate the scene is “Human”, the pink legged dog that resided in Huyghe’s wilderness project for dCOMENTA (13). Also from there, the reclining nude sculpture with a living beehive for head is installed outside. Aquariums in different rooms house spider crabs, and in the work Zoodram 4, Brancusi’s polished bronze head Muse Endormie becomes a shell for a hermit crab. At Centre Pompidou, ice skaters glided elegantly on a large rink of black ice. Here, the ice is let to melt, forming uncanny dark crystals. The final stop in Los Angeles will certainly contain even more atrophy.
By Hili Perlson