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FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN

OPENING HOURS
28 – 31 October, 12:00 – 22:00

VENUES
Flatland Gallery, Casco, the Academiegalerie & Expodium

 

In 1967 Bruce Nauman made a neon sculpture that proclaimed: “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.” As the artist himself explained, this statement was “on the one hand a totally silly idea and yet, on the other, hand I believed it. It’s true and it’s not true at the same time. It depends on how you interpret it and how seriously you can take yourself.”

The artists in Flowers in the Dustbin present a very personal vision of the world we inhabit. The works are all rooted firmly in the everyday, but are also born in the artists’ imagination, and present an alternative view of reality. Their materials are drawn from the world around them, the issues that concern them, the stuff of everyday lives. Laughter, surprise, provocation, association, tricks, all are at the service of these works that create their own special relationship between art and life, destabilising both. Everyday life is interpreted with a sense of humor and irreverence, thereby encouraging a new perception of our contemporary lives.

Miguel Calderón and Pierrick Sorin both adopt a playful and irreverent approach. Sorin’s caricatural sketches of the banalities of an uneventful life are enacted by a rather pathetic character who is somehow at once endearing and. annoying. Sorin’s work parodies serious endeavour, so questioning the choices we make and value we hold. His actions and mise-en-scène have something of Dada and Fluxus in them. The absurdity of some of Calderón’s work similarly rings of dada. His bad-boy reputation belies his subversion of the hypocrisy of social values taken at face value. Mark Leckey’s exploration of urban youth culture echoes that of Calderón, and offers a critique of Western society at the end of the twentieth century. Music is central to Leckey’s work. Daniela Steinfeld also draws on song lyrics, film and theatre for inspiration. Using the simplest of props to transform herself into often grotesquely strange characters with peculiar anatomies, Steinfeld playfully explores various transformations, transitions and metamorphoses. Dara Friedman manipulates ordinary actions in her films so that they appear to be something completely different from what in fact they are.

PIERRICK SORIN  (1960, NANTES, FRANCE)

Dance with me
(1996, 2 Monitors & Single Channel Projection)
In Dance with me the artist makes a music video in his kitchen in which he performs all the roles alone. He undertakes his task with a self-absorbed seriousness, so adding to the absurdity of the work.
Location:
Academiegalerie

Réveils (Awakenings)
(1988, SUPER-8. Film on Video)
The artist films himself waking up every morning. Every morning he is tired and promises himself to fo to bed earlier, every morning he seems more and more tired, and his promises to try harder become emptier. The portrait that builds up is of a rather silly and mediocre character who becomes progressively more ridiculous.
Location: 
Flatland Gallery

L’Rangement
(2000, 9 Monitors)
The artist struggles to pack his work to send it to  a gallery for exhibition. The laborious process of carefully wrapping his work and filling boxes, as well as the anxieties that accompany the idea of showing it, become an emotionally and visually rich experience in themselves. Sorin’s work is a self-portrait as well as a parody of the stereotypical ideas of an artist.
Location: 
Flatland Gallery

Titre variable N˚1: “Toutes les Femmes”
(1999, 1 Monitor, Record Player, Box &  Mirror)
A miniature figure of the artist runs endlessly on a record as it turns on an old-fashioned player. Naked except for his socks and a pair of underpants, and reaching  out to viewer, Sorin mutters incoherent sounds that vaguely recall the title of the work.
Location:
Flatland Gallery

MARK LECKEY (1964, LONDON, UK)

LondonAtella
(2002, Single Channel Projection)
Mark Leckey uses music and club culture to explore the world of the urban youth . In the soundtrack contemporary music combines with Mendelsohns Die Fingalsöhle from 1832.
Location: 
Flatland Gallery

Parade
(2003, Single Channel Projection)
A dizzying pan of Leckey’s apartment is the starting point for Parade which subsequently takes to the streets of Soho in the company of a street-wise dandy and  a hypnotic soundtrack made according to the artist’s habitual method of piecing together fragments of music to create a new sound.
Location:
Expodium

 

DARA FRIEDMAN (1968, BAD KREUZNACH, GERMANY)

Total
(1998, 16mm Projection, Loop)
It takes s while to realize what it is that makes this film odd. Total reconstructs the complete destruction of a room, that is, it shows the destruction backwards, so it is as if Friedman is magically restoring order to chaos. The aggressive energy of demolition is transformed into a creative force.
Location:
Casco

Whip Whipping the Wall
(1998, S-8 Transferred to Video)
In  Whip Whipping the Wall the artist is seen in a derelict interior brandishing a whip which she proceeds to fling violently against the wall. Referencing ironically ‘macho’ work such as Paul McCarthy’s 1974 Whipping a Wall and a Window with Paint, Friedman brings a feminine sensibility to traditionally masculine roles.
Location:
Casco

Romance
(2000, Single Channel Projection)
Romance features a series of hidden camera documentary-style shots of couples kissing. The work plays with ideas of voyeurism and the big-screen kiss. The silence of the film intensifies the couples’ intimacy and their oblivion to the outside world. But as the film unfolds the viewer begins to wonder whether the couples are indeed as unaware of the camera as they first appear.
Location: 
outside at Theatre Kikker, on the windows of the city hall, after sunset

 

DANIELA STEINFELD (1964, DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY)

Soulvideo
(2000-2001, Single Channel Projection)
The artist lies prostrate and immobile in a rabbit hutch. The rabbits group, disperse and regroup in slow motion around the motionless form, at times curious, at times seemingly unaware of this new presence in their lives. All of this takes place to Pink Floyd, the music and lyrics introducing an existential quality to this meditative, hypnotic work.
Location:
Flatland Gallery

Hawkeye
(2002, Single Channel Projection)
A deserted car park is surrounded by darkness. It seems uninhabited, until an  asphalt-coloured form hatches from a membrane. The creature slowly advances across the empty lot under the artificial glare of the street lamps until it is no longer in the picture frame.
Location:
Academiegalerie

Headbanger
(2002, Single Channel Projection)
Wrapped in gold foil, and set off against a black background,  the artist is transformed into a strange, misshapen creature. Kneeling on the floor she is lit only by a round spot, as if on stage or caught in a searchlight. She shakes her head rhythmically – even violently – to the strains of a melancholic love song by the Beatles.
Location:
Academiegalerie

MIGUEL CALDERÓN (1971, MEXICO CITY, MEXICO)

Music Video
(1997, Video on Monitor)
In Music Video, a vinyl played by a youth in innocuous surroundings seems to release a totally other world full of strange characters and temptation – a send-up of the stereotypical fears of parents about their teenage children’s immersion in a particular kind of music and its accompanying culture.
Location:
Flatland Gallery

Cavernario
(2004, Video on Monitor)
Panic in the museum. A young caveman has escaped from the diorama where he has been on display and explores the museum. He comes across a group of students drawing objects, but they appear to remain completely unaware of the presence of this creature from another era. The caveman leaves the museum and disappears into the distance, perhaps to find another life.
Location:
Flatland Gallery

Bark
(2003, Video on Monitor)
An elderly man stands in front of his sports car in a wealthy neighbourhood of Mexico City. The scene that unfolds in front of the viewer is seen from the viewpoint of the driver of another car. The driver orders the elderly man to drop to his hands and knees and bark like a dog. It is not by chance that Calderón depicts wealthy citizens in such an absurd posture.
Location:
Flatland Gallery

 

 

Curated by Clare Manchester

Clare Manchester is a critic, curator and editor based in Lausanne and London. She is currently working on an exhibition based around an exploration of the artist’s body in film and video, spanning contemporary practice from the 1960’s to the present. She contributes regularly to magazines such as Flash Art and Lapiz.