Monthly Archives: March 2019

Pre-view: Fast Kotzen


The source of 20th century unrest is a pattern of blind domination, according to German philosophers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. This is domination is trifold: the domination of nature by human beings, the domination of nature within human beings, and, in both of these forms of domination, the domination of some human beings by others.

A product of their wartime exile, Adorno and Horkheimer first published Dialectic of Enlightenment in 1944. It would become one of the most searching critiques of modernity. The duo had experienced National Socialism, Stalinism, state capitalism, and mass culture as entirely new forms of social domination.

Almost 80 years later, the patterns of social domination remain one of the main questions present in the artistic practices of today’s artists. The 38th round of Pilotenkueche International Art Program brings together 16 emerging artists that share a similar sensibility directed towards multi-layered social and cultural structures. Engaged in various topics, their approach can primarily be described as analytical, as most of them reflect on the social character of contemporary art in their practice and thus in a way deal with the question whether or not art can contribute to the transformation of this world.


all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

A

Why the title, Fast Kotzen? The artists of the 38th round relate to the idea of an instantaneous reaction in a form of purging, symbolically and physically. The body’s action of protecting itself serves as a symbol for rejection of the blind domination of nature and humans, pointing towards transformation of society as a whole and subsequently leading towards reconciliation. The duality of the word “fast” (in English – quick; but in German – almost, nearly) also implies that producing new work requires a reflection beforehand, the artists being eager to express themselves quickly in order to make room for new work and also to be in sync with the demands and the pace of the world today.

At the vernissage, you’ll have a chance to engage with the works and the artists, and also hear the reactions of Twin Effect. These talented musicians from Georgia will improvise based on their reactions to the art, the space, the crowd, and each other.

written by curator Tena Bakšaj


Fast Kotzen

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Performance: Twin Effect

Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

International residents

A L Kleiner
(Painting, installation; Sydney, Australia)

Amanda Struver
(Interdisciplinary: Syracuse, NY, United States)

Ana Castillo
(Illustration, painting, animation: Paris, France)

Atsuko Mochida
(Installation, site-specific installation, public art: Tokyo, Japan)

Ece Canguden
(Painting, sculpture: Istanbul, Turkey)

Eliana Jacobs
(Etching, objects, collage, conceptual: Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Isabelle Kuzio
(Video, sculpture, painting, installation: Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada)

Jose Sarmiento
(Painting, drawing, etching: Bucaramanga, Colombia)

Charles Park
(Photography: New York, NY, US)

Marloes Staal
(Sculpture, photography, drawing: Enschede, Netherlands)

Ludmila Hrachovinova
(Painting: Bratislava, Slovakia)

Roman Bicek
(Painting, collage: Bratislava, Slovakia)

Tomas Orrego Gianella
(Video, installation, collage: Lima, Peru)

Valentine Emilia Bossert
(Drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, installation: Geneva, Switzerland)

Local Participants

Henrike Pilz
(mixed media: Leipzig, Germany)

Paul Altmann
(Conceptual art, photography, video, installation: Leipzig, Germany)

Curator

Tena Bakšaj
(Zagreb, Croatia)

Interns

Ciara Brown
(Fine art, multimedia: Birnley, UK)

Maria Maceira
(Art history: A Estrada, Pontevedra, Spain)

Samra Sabanovic
(Photography: Helsinki, Finland)

Mihyun Maria Kim
(Painting, drawing: Edmonton, Canada)

I

Artist spotlight: Tomás Orrego Gianella

What is love?” is the question Tomás Orrego poses in his video installations, welcoming us to violence. His works draw you in and then knock you over the head, but you can’t turn away.

Love is a fist that smashes every tooth in your face.

Occasionally joking about being a professional disturber of people, this pleasant Peruvian averts calling himself an artist and prefers a simple description: making films. Academically educated in architecture, Tomás decided to abandon it as it became clear it was not the language he needed to express himself fully. From the very beginning of his work with collage and video, the themes stayed consistent: society’s domination of the female (body), violence and love as possessiveness.

This notion of love is exposed in Tomás’s work from different angles of pop culture, rendering the differences between pornography, horror movies, pop music and children’s cartoons, indiscernible. Tomás sees slasher films and pornography as equals in context of their role in exploiting the female body, used only as an object to be retained. The same patterns are exposed in songs and cartoons, confirming how the social construct of love is being forced on us from early age; it shapes and exercises our expectations in adult life.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Using repetition, the videos take out the notion of the original, so does his overall working method; the found footage builds an archive for him to subject to various changes. The flesh becomes pixel, the gonzo porn perspective a glitched animation, the pop in the pop song is not there. When persistent work is in question like with Tomás, it makes sense that appealing results are sometimes found by accident too.

In repetitive expressions of simulated fear and lust, the film becomes more tense but also slows down in order to forensically expose itself. It functions as something happening over and over again, commenting on the ubiquity of these images in our society. With remixing the films that have a strong defined formula, he is pursuing authorial narrative. In this deconstruction through repetition, Tomás creates a story that never truly ends.

Noticeable too is the sound and image correspondence. Not only by reusing songs or creating noise, but the visual repetitions alter the sound. Being equally attentive to the audio recalls Tomás’s interest in music. Back in Peru, he is a part of two bands: Los Hijos del Culto and Lorena y Laura, from which the latter one focuses on noise improvisations.

The difficult part for him is to explain his work without looking bad. He considers appropriation of violence having potential to be beautiful. The act of cinema montage is by itself violent, if one thinks about what is actually done in the process. The images he takes are mostly acted and simulated, but real in the situation in front of the camera and its conditions. Re-contextualizing them, a little distance between the real and fictive provides room for the beautiful. Together with the text and repulsiveness, it certainly implies reactions. What is shown on the screens is the reality, and is all about the real people.

After some time, Tomás will put his own videos back to the editing program. In this way none of his works are coined as final absolute version, but become a resource in his archive and will repeat again.

Shock Corridor is the video installation on show at our final exhibition Fast Kotzen. On Saturday, Tomás invites you into a living room with multiple TVs to watch his pirate TV channel. The setting itself is an interesting one if we recall Richard Schickel blaming television for having “reduced the audiences’ expectations of coherence in the development of a plot, as well as its capacity to deal with the more subtle layerings of a more sophisticated kind of storytelling’’. In this room you are able to follow his characters through a cord of situations taken from aforementioned footage, merging with text written by him and remixed pop songs giving more insight to the overall narrative. With inserted trailers for his animated movies and created commercials, the installation gets some light undertones. This eases the viewer’s experience but also reminds us of the living room backdrop and its own connotations.

“Pleasure knows no limit when the hand vibrates. Laugh, cry, vomit, repent or masturbate. Hopefully you’ll do all of this at the same time while watching this pirate TV channel we got just for you, sick fuck. Cheap shock is all you’ll get so turn off your mind. This signal is a vomit of slasher films, gonzo porn, shit stained poetry and mangled pop music. Your fantasies will never be the same again. Pleasure has never been this good. You’ll definitely stay up all night watching Justine, our main star. Watch her body vibrate. Watch her contort. Watch her weep in fear at the lack of control. Watch her digital flesh be enslaved by our device. Welcome to violence. “


written by Samra Šabanović

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight:Valentine Emilia Bossert

“I don’t understand why I exist. I find it very confusing”. Valentine expresses how her artistic output is her way of making sense of stuff. Though, she also interrogates the idea of ‘sense’. How can there be sense when there is so much chaos and so many ideas and so many memories. She is an advocate of the concept of collective consciousness. If we were all to share common beliefs, common ideas and moral attitudes, could this lead us to a state of sense? Though not explicit, there are underlying suggestions to utopia and dystopia in Valentines work – always questioning the encounters of humanity and to where we are heading.

Existentialism. (/ɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃ(ə)lɪz(ə)m/)

noun

  1. a philosophical theory or approach which emphasises the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

Her own stories, observations, experiences; these are the roots of Valentines creations. Her most recent installation at Pilotenkueche round 38’s first exhibition (Unfinished Hase) responded to her feelings of displacement caused by a constant turn-over of location. The wall hanging was a series of floor plans drawn on thin sheets of resin, all depictions of the homes in which Valentine has lived over the past ten years. Her own journey led her to the question; what is the meaning of a home? Where do I feel at home in my life? The drawings were hung in chronological order on a structure standing adjacent from the wall, allowing the spectator to follow her journey and lack of settlement.


all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Valentine began studying Medical Science in Geneva. It was there she began life drawing classes, “it was the only time of the week I was happy”. The medical sciences became boring and meaningless to her. At the age of 20, having decided that she was not feeling any sense of achievement and was worried about a linear future, Valentine decided to leave Medicine behind and unpick the layers of humanity via an artistic practice. She underwent a BA in Drawing at Camberwell College, UAL then an MA in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University.

When asked about her most successful piece, Valentine refers to her photo booth, first created and installed at a festival in Luxemburg. This piece was designed with accessibility to art in mind. By creating a photo booth, she inserted elements of playfulness and recognition. However, the “photographs” which were produced were not typical photographs. Instead of a camera, inside the booth was a variety of artists, one at a time. Each artist depicted the visitor in their own interpretation and delivered the response to the visitor as a work of art. Valentine’s photo booth project is ongoing. For the Fast Kotzen exhibition Valentine plans to recreate the installation. Currently she is searching for funding to develop a way in which it can be recreated as a portable object to be installed in different locations.

After Pilotenkueche, Valentines next step is to move into her studio space in Berlin – shared with other artists and musicians. Here she will continue to explore the variations of her existence. Creating. Tailoring method to her ideas. Using different methods to deliver understandings of her presence. Oh, and a flat of her own: a temporary permanent residence.

written by Ciara Brown

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight: Paul Altmann

When walking in the Oststrasse one can stumble upon a store with a charming interior accommodating a range of vintage objects carefully curated by the owners. This new space, formerly a butcher store dating from 1900 whose history is visible on the bluish ceramic tiles, was founded in 2017 by PK local artist Paul Altmann and his partner Antje Schaper. FANG studio works not only as a store for collected rarities, graphics and artworks, but is mutually a studio for two of them and an exhibition space. When visiting, one can also have a cup of coffee or chai and have a chat with Paul. He tells me how this multi-purpose space is their attempt to live a dream of free and open minded work, but is a hard job.

Along with running the gallery, within his art practice this Leipziger chooses political themes to address as a way to handle complexity of the world and times we are in. With photography and video as his main mediums, Paul dwells into wide range of practices; (de)constructing small models for the camera, appropriating found archival photographs, creating video loops, constructing installations in gallery space, text installations on the streets, and much more.

With a strong graphic appearance his images showcase the suggestive power of metaphorically peeling off, but also literally- melting, what we will see later, the real and concrete into a symbol. These symbols in becoming are in a certain way already symbols or simulations constructed by the media and society; toys exercising violence, small models apparently disarmed of previous power, print screens of videos questioning the real in the digital world, revealed conditions and provenance of social games such as Monopoly.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program or supplied by Paul

Act of deducement happens. What is photographed is transited into something else. Here we encounter a ‘quasi identity’ in R.Barthes’ term. In his early work DAVID & NELSON, a simple model is built for the camera that becomes surely recognizable only when slowly deconstructed in a video loop, behaving as a destruction. Now, we certainly know that this is an abstraction of the smoldering of World Trade Center. Here again, an interpretation of a media image is encountered. If one agrees with W.J.Mitchell’s observation that this terrorist act was staged for the camera, we can notice range of Paul’s work sharing similar approach.

To recognize and not take it for granted that photography is always engaged with other media is what we call photo mediation. Paul recognizes this, and questions the pictures that are becoming future history. In this way he is positioning himself among artists that are challenging the uncritical and lazy piling up of the visual. Mostly news are his starting points; news to be thought as already existing images and news echoing those that are yet to come. Paul (re)depicts these with an ambivalent approach since his tendency to illustrate is without ambition to blame or polarize, but possibly to start debates.

In the past few months, Paul returned back to the models and toys as a main referent for addressing their relation to violence. He has been collecting toy guns in order to melt them down and photograph their transition. The toy shifts to an object stripped from its purpose which is a simulation itself; to allow children to mimic attack, and eventually war. Nowadays, they remind us on the presence of violence and are charged with agony of contemporary events.

Overall, much of his work engages with violence in an aesthetic and not directly disturbing way. His ‘transitions’ cause an odd feeling; revealing the media they are engaging with. Going through them with accompanied texts, we gain new knowledge. In The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, writer Lyle Rexel points out that it is in the condition of contemporary photographs to ‘arrive now within a set of quotation marks’. Here again we return to photo mediation, when images influence others, even the most banal ones. In future encounters with similar referents, Paul’s work will inevitably be one of the quotes.

written by Samra Šabanović 

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist Spotlight: Marloes Staal

“Come in, grab a blanket and get comfortable.” Marloes’ studio space is a rainbow. These are stacks of blankets collected from the homes of many people in Holland, each with their own personal history. Her resourceful mother assisted her in the project by putting an ad in the local newspaper. Much to her surprise, Marloes was smothered with responses. When asked why blankets, Marloes explains that they are representative of basic human desires. An everyday comfort, taken for granted, until I entered this conversation: a reflection of appreciation with the artist.

We delve into what else makes us comfortable. The warmth of a blanket, the beauty of a landscape. For Marloes in particular, it is the ability to express herself creatively and the freedom to practice this with a nomadic lifestyle. Growing up she was surrounded by artistically inclined people; her grandfather always fixing things and working with metal, her grandmother always creating. “Making is a natural human activity, a way in which we respond to the materials of the earth” – an activity which she exorcises, explores and exploits in detail. Her creations are built in response to her travels; the location, it’s history and the atmosphere and emotion which are provoked.  

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Leipzig holds a rich industrial history. Evident in the landscape of crumbling mills and old transportation track lines. Enschede, Holland (Marloes’ home town) boasts a similar history. The artist naturally became interested in the Industrial Revolution as a stamp of the term “man vs.nature”. A term which has encouraged an ocean of discourse. Marloes explains that for her this term is an unrealistic binary. Herself and many philosophers strive to encourage the understanding that humans are part of nature. There is no separation. We are part of the ongoing cycle of evolution.

Hyperreal depictions of rocks were created in ceramics and textiles, and laid on the collected blankets. Each of them, prints of rocks from the local scenery. I pick one of them up. It looks small and light, but weighed enough to make my jaw drop in shock. This one was brought from Marloes’ previous residency in Scotland. Here she learnt how to create art work in an iron foundry. I am enlightened by Marloes adventures and ability to explore many avenues and possibilities of creation. Her skills cover a variety of techniques and processes.

Where to next? After the residency at Pilotenkueche, Marloes will hold exhibition in Enschede. This exhibition will document a conversation between the industrial histories which both locations share, and the common scars which they display. Before that, she plans to install a sculpture at the Fast Kotzen exhibition. Come and see what she creates!

written by Ciara Brown

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist Spotlight: Roman Bicek

“Change yourself.  You see the hypocrisy of trying to change another person.”  Roman prefers to draw attention to an issue, rather than make a statement that can be from an egotistical or self-centred position.  He works with humour and cynicism, not with a mission of political statement.  He likes to keep the viewer on edge, and draw attention to the materials of the object or image made.

By collecting images and text, he builds on layers of meaning.  There is a certain sense of immediacy in the way the work is put together, with his mark making reduced to the few strokes of the material he has chosen and with all the layers evident.  “I’m not gonna make more marks if I don’t think it necessary because my uncertainty would show if I don’t know what to do next”.  Every mark and image has purpose and is carefully considered or edited out, yet there is a sense of spontaneity and play with chance in the drawings and paintings Roman produces.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Punk and Alternative culture influenced his youth.  After years in Bratislava, his family moved to England where Roman spent his preteen years skateboarding and listening to the aggressive music of the 80s and 90s.  Having to take time learning English, he got into comics and illustrations.  Visual language started to gain importance, as his free expression through a new language was limited.  Both the influences and the need for expression kept a raw energy to what he put down.  He explains that with painting he wants to be true, to have it unrefined, and have the viewer sense and see the materials as they are.  

Not enough painters ask themselves why they paint or why they choose the medium.  Roman has witnessed waves of painters in the scene come and go, and recognises painting as a problematic material that needs to be challenged by the artist.  The notion of painting as a dead art form has been in conversation for years and as much as Roman sees the limitations of what he is doing, there is a pure necessity to continue doing it.  It has come to the point that art making is therapeutic in many ways, and if he doesn’t do it he feels a great urge to do it.  

Whether he exhibits or not, he continues to choose to struggle and compete with himself and the medium.  Not everything he makes will be exhibited or shown to the public, but the motivation to continue creating comes from a personal need to continue doing it.  He constantly keeps multiple works he develops at the same time, which helps convey the thought with more content.  He dissects images he comes across and thinks of ways to put them together that changes the connotations which may not be very rational at first but builds up to create new meanings.  He consistently challenges his own views and tests them through this on-going process.

Interacting with people he wouldn’t normally get a chance to, and seeing their motivations and passions play out in the open format studio setting of Pilotenkueche has been a humbling experience for him. Being exposed to other artists with different backgrounds, ideologies and experiences in the residency has enriched the quality of his time here in Leipzig. After the residency, Roman will be again immersed in having to work and continue his projects with artist run spaces and collectives he is involved with.  Hence, knowing his time will be precious, he relishes in the time to focus on himself and his work for the remaining weeks here.  

written by mihyun maria kim

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist Spotlight: Ludmila Hrachovinova

“Everything results from something in the past, not coming from nowhere, but rather from something familiar and approachable…” Ludmila talks about the source of her inspiration as something that reminds her of something else past.  A scent, an object, a moment, a certain movement- all of these can trigger her curiosity that leads to a vocabulary of shapes, colours, lines and textures in her drawings and paintings.

The colour palette is always taken from the colours of the reality around her.  Ludmila selects her colours carefully through experimenting with mood boards and sketches before working on larger scale pieces.  She finds it satisfying when she works with the contrasts between vivid colour and that which is blurred.  The varied areas of focus in her work is chosen intuitively, and the aesthetics are a result of her emotions and something in the subconscious that is unintentionally triggered by something around her.

Micro-perspective, human bones, bending of nature, continuation like plants growing, transmission into something else, evolution of things, shapes, corners, tubes, joints, places that bend where two parts connect or come together, all refer back to the body.  She likes the tactile qualities of the materials she draws and paints with.  By pushing, smudging, rubbing, digging, mixing, she tests the limits of expression by the materials to their fullest.

When displaying her paintings and drawings she wants the viewer to have a moment of encounter.  Her paintings are of feelings, of personal experience, and she wants the audience to have a personal experience with her works. The discovery is encouraged by the way she places the works off the wall, either hanging from the ceiling or on a structure which allows the viewer to see it from various angles and from below on ‘mattresses’.  The mattresses are fabrics stitched together with embroidery sown by hand or machine that correlates the shapes and lines of her works as a mirroring of images.  She plays with the position of the works and of the viewer, and encourages interaction.

Pilotenkueche has motivated her to work faster than her normal speed, and for the first time she explores working with pastels, which were on view at the first show at Alte Handelschule.  For the final show, she will continue to work with pastels on paper, and expand to larger works in oil.  How she will display them and what memories we will tap into will only be discovered during the show.

written by mihyun maria kim

Feature image by Charles Park.

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany