In the basement of an industrial power-plant in Kunstkraftwerk, visitors followed an imagined blue line through the murky labyrinth of exposed brick walls and blacked out spaces. In every corner there was a different narrative lurking amongst the shadows, just waiting to be told. Clementine Butler-Galle, round 39’s resident curator, begs the question “Who defines a narrative?’ In Elsewhere A Blue Line And The Absurdity Of A Ghost On A Stone, she wanted to toy with our notions of storytelling. This idea was beautifully encapsulated in the exhibitions unique setting.
Anabel Najera-Lopez’s piece ‘Absence Presence’ told multiple narratives. Upon entering the second room the work sits strikingly under a spotlight. Flesh coloured fabrics morph together to portray a figural form, the reminisce spilling out to create a dramatic effect. Her work often explores notions of selfhood, however in this piece she considers collective identity. Her use of unwanted clothes, cumulated from the streets of Leipzig, tell the stories of past owners. Through the act of ripping the material apart and repurposing it, forgotten narratives converge to form a ‘new self’.
Some artists explored their own narratives. Coffee Kang’s ‘The Star (part 3)’ is part of an ongoing mixed media project, displaying four wooden boxes. Each box represented a different city in which she has lived; Shanghai, LA, and Leipzig. Through the daily act of drilling holes into the wood, Kang explored the temporal faculties of place.
Other artists evoked past narratives. In ‘She’s A Cult’, Izdehar Afyoui re-tells the historical portrayal of ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’; a painting created by the early Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. Through this direct re-imagining of male pain and anger in the realm of narrative art production, Afyoui sought to highlight similar contemporary paradigms of displacement with regard to the continued exclusion of women from artistic discourse.
photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Jos Diegal, one of our local residencies, too channelled an art historical narrative. In his piece ‘LOOSE FILM ANTHOLOGY IN TWO DIFFERENT STATES OF MATTER (MADE BY PEOPLE GATHERING AND ARMED WITH CELLULOID)’, Jos replicates the filmic reflexivity of the early cinematic avant-gardes. The spectacular sculpture comprised of used film strips which hung suspended from the ceiling, were displayed in conjunction to a series of projected film images. The film was manipulated by scratching and painting over it to create distorted static effects. Through the art of anti-illusion and anti-narrative (a technique propounded by early Structuralist Film theorists), Jos seeks to challenge established conventions of cinema and its ideological underpinnings.
In a similar critique of the technological apparatus, Daniel Long, who specialises in the art of ‘projection mapping’, created an inbuilt structure of suspended windows inside of one of the remains of the old industrial site. The windows contained an array of wires, circuit boards and other skeletons of technological parts. Upon closer examination, you see a projected image of two figures. The footage tells a dismal, though not too unfamiliar, tale of two lovers disconnected by ipads and smartphones in the modern world. Filmed from outside a living room window to create the voyeuristic impression of ‘looking in’, viewers are forced to watch the inevitable breakdown of the relationship in the story’s denouement.
Every artwork in the space had a tale to tell. Kate Jones’ work conjured imagined narratives of psychedelic planes or demonic fairy kingdoms. Eliana Jacob’s evoked the narrative of a Nation in order to signify the importance of collective memory and remembrance. Jana Moser’s organic forms tell tales of the natural world. Christina Prudente played upon on poetic narrative, referencing Edgar Allan Poe ‘The Conqueror Worm’. Some dialogues existed less overtly in the temporality of the works production. Marijn Roos Lindgreen ’s piece, for example, which was produced from paraffin wax, told the story of ‘Becoming Solid’.
Overall, the night was truly one to remember. If you missed the vernissage, don’t worry. The exhibition is on until 2 June as part of the Kunskraftwerk experience. Each day two of the artists will be in the space to chat. This Saturday, 1 June, our curator, Clementine Butler-Galle, will be on hand for a Curatorial Tour.
Written by: Ellisha Walkden
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Curatorial tour with Clementine Butler-Galle: Sat 1 June 11.30AM-12.30PM
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig