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1 bak basis voor actuele kunst projects institution blog nl eng introduction read more artist(s) and projects notify forum homepage The Return of Religion and Other Myths The Art of Iconoclasm The Art of Iconoclasm Carl Andre Carl Andre, The Life Process of Society..., 1976/77), private collection text on the cover of Art-Rite no.14 (winter The life process of society, which is based on the process of material production, does not strip off its mystical veil until it is treated as production by freely assembled men and women, and is consciously regulated by them in accordance with a settled plan. This quotation from Karl Marx s Capital, written in capitals and without any interpunction, was arranged by Carl Andre in a square grid. The mystical veil that Marx wants to remove is religion. Apparently more willing than Marx to recognize positive impulses in some forms of religion, Andre once ascribed to himself a temperance of dissatisfaction deriving from the history of Protestant dissent in Europe. However, his use of Marx s text is markedly different from the reverential Page 1 of 16

2 Protestant approach to biblical verse. Printed on the cover of the 1970s art magazine Art-Rite, Andre s text is not easy to read. Deciphering it takes some effort, making the production of meaning more conscious processes. Andre always lambasted the idealism of Conceptual art, best exemplified in the work and writings of Joseph Kosuth: the quasi-platonic dictionary definitions disavow that art is part of material production, which as yet is far from being treated as production by freely assembled men and women. Carl Andre, born 1935, lives and works in New York. Recent exhibitions (selection): Peripheral vision and collective body, MUSEION, Bolzano, ; IRON, Yvon Lambert, Paris, 2008; Carl Andre. 40 Jahre bei Konrad Fischer, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin, 2007; The Shapes of Space, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2007; What happened to Art, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2006; Von Carl Andre bis Bruce Nauman, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2006; and Carl Andre Black Wholes, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Carel Blotkamp Carel Blotkamp, nbn (Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue I), 2006, sequins on paper Recently, art historian and artist Carel Blotkamp has fashioned small variations on all four of Barnett Newman s Who s Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue? works (two of which are on view here). Blotkamp has executed Newman s color fields and vertical zips by placing glittering sequins on sheets of paper at regular intervals. These works transform Newman s abstract sublime into something rather more glamorous. The fundamental tension in Blotkamp s work is perhaps best encapsulated by a phrase from one of his works: Blavatsky in Vegas. Helena Blavatsky was the founder of theosophy, the nineteenthcentury movement that had such a profound impact on early abstract artists including Mondrian, about whom Blotkamp has written extensively. More generally, here Blavatsky stands for the spiritual pretensions of modernist abstraction and its Page 2 of 16

3 claim to arrive at a higher reality beyond appearances. However, Blotkamp s sequined variations of modernist pieces are something more than (all too easy) ironical comments on these lofty aims. Offering profane illumination, their glued-on pixels forming a matrix of dots suggest that Newman s cherished sublime has become a digital reality. Carel Blotkamp, born 1945, lives and works in Utrecht. Blotkamp worked until 2007 as Professor at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and has written many publications and articles. Recent exhibitions (selection): Carel Blotkamp: werken van toen en nu, De Pont, Tilburg, 2007; Quantumvis III, grote zomertentoonstelling, RC de Ruimte, IJmuiden, 2007; and Carel Blotkamp: For the One & For the Many, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Guy Debord/Jean-Léon Gérôme Guy Debord, La Société du Spectacle, 1973, film converted to DVD, 88 min., video still In the 1960s, Guy Debord and the Situationist International criticized advanced capitalism as a society of the spectacle. He based his ideas on Marx s concept of commodity fetishism; according to Marx, what really determines the value of a particular commodity is the value of the labor power invested in it. Debord argued that the interplay of commodity fetishes creates a spectacle that gives a distorted image of social relations. In the exhibition, a print after Gérôme s most famous composition an 1883 painting of Christians thrown before lions showing the fight between early Christians and Roman spectacles with a lurid mixture of fascination and revulsion is combined with Debord s film version of his book La Société du Spectacle. This is done not in order to suggest that Debord s critique of the spectacle can be invalidated by unmasking it as covertly religious and identical to early Christian attacks on the cruelty of idolatrous Roman spectacles, but in order to stimulate reflection on both continuities and discontinuities, as modern culture has seemed to recognize itself in these spectacles as in a distorting mirror. For Debord, the cinema s moving images barely dissimulated that capitalism was a regime of deadly stasis, and the seemingly deadening didacticism of his film could also be seen as an attempt to restore some sense of meaning and movement to these image. Guy Debord, ( ) was a renowned theorist, filmmaker, and founding member of the Situationist International. Recent exhibitions (selection): 16th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, 2008; Interstitial Zones Historical Facts, Archaeologies of the Present and Dialectics of Seeing, argos, Brussels, 2008; Klio Eine kurze Geschichte der Kunst in Euramerika nach 1945, ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, ; Mapping the City, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2007; Guy Debord, documents situationnistes, Centre International de Poésie, Marseille, 2006; and The Arts of the Future will be radical transformations of situations, or they will be nothing : Guy Debord Cineaste, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, Page 3 of 16

4 Rod Dickinson & Tom McCarthy Rod Dickinson and Tom McCarthy, Greenwich Degree Zero, 2006, mixed media installation, installation view, Beaconsfield Gallery, London, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London This piece consists of doctored documents press clippings, a film that purport to report on and show the bombing of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich on 15 February On that day, there was indeed an attempted bomb attack, by an anarchist who was also a police informer, but it failed. By correcting history and showing a pillar of smoke rising over the Observatory, Dickinson and McCarthy seem to evoke 9/11, thus countering the tendency to see those events as an incomprehensible eruption of violence utterly alien to the West, rather than anchoring them in a history of violent contestations that are intrinsic to capitalism. Shot in the style of the early years of cinema, the film suggests that the attack on the Observatory would have been a media event on par with 9/11, and no doubt instrumentalized in a similar way. That the man responsible for the bombing was a police informer recalls conspiracy theories about 9/11; in both cases we seem trapped in a world of pseudo events, a world in which terrorism conspires with its opponent to strengthen the status quo. In this reading and viewing room, Dickinson and McCarthy offer documents whose perusal can shed some light on this vicious cycle. Rod Dickinson, born 1965, and Tom McCarthy, born 1969, live and work in London. Greenwich Degree Zero is their first collaborative work. The work has been exhibited in the following exhibitions (selection): History Will Repeat Itself Strategies of Re-enactment in Contemporary Art, Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund, 2007, Kunst Werke, Berlin, , Goethe-Institut, Hong Kong, 2008, and Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2008; Greenwich Degree Zero, Beaconsfield Gallery, London, 2006; and The Western Front Gallery, Vancouver, Alongside this collaborative project, Dickinson and McCarthy also exhibit work independently. Rod Dickinson s recent exhibitions (selection): The Institute of Psychoplasmics, Pump House Gallery, London, 2008 and Prophets of Deceit, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, Tom McCarthy s most recent exhibition is Eclipse Art in a Dark Age, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Hans Haacke Page 4 of 16

5 Hans Haacke, Commemorating 9/11, 2002, photo On September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers were attacked as latter-day idols, embodying the West s materialism. For his 2002 poster project commemorating the 9/11 attacks, Hans Haacke produced an edition of monochrome white posters from which the silhouettes of the Twin Towers had been cut out. For the design of his negative poster, Haacke used an advertisement for a Broadway production from the New York Times Magazine as background, and on the city s poster walls where the posters were installed, fragments of ads for shows, films, or records were visible through the towers silhouettes. Although ostensibly commemorating 9/11, the project in effect problematized and questioned the destroyed building itself, which had made visible the abstract, anti-iconic tendency of advanced capitalism in the form of a spectacular icon. Haacke s montage of the towers outline with advertising suggests that today s plethora of images is produced by an abstract structure that may be beyond representation. In the 1970s, philosopher Jean Baudrillard famously interpreted the Newmanesque zips of the Twin Towers as signs of the rise of the digital and in the digital age, has capitalism itself not become abstract and iconoclastic in a way that surpasses the wildest dreams of modernism? Hans Haacke, born 1936, lives and works in New York. Recent exhibitions (selection): Peripheral vision and collective body, MUSEION, Bolzano, ; 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, 2008; That Was Then... This Is Now, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, 2008; New York State of Mind, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2007 and Queens Museum of Art, Queens, ; Vormen van Verzet, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2007; The Message is the Medium, Jum Kempner Fine Art, New York, 2006; Page 5 of 16

6 Zero: International Avantgarde of the 50s and 60s, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, 2006; and 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Arnoud Holleman Arnoud Holleman, Museum, 1998, video, 8 min., video still In his work Museum, Arnoud Holleman quotes from the French gay porn film, Musée hom by Jean Daniël Cadinot, set in a museum filled with (plaster casts of) mainly antique sculptures, which are being studied by comely young men, who are in turn eyed by the uniformed security guards. Cadinot s film gives a pornographic twist to those scenes of iconoclastic idol-smashing in mainstream film analyzed by Boris Groys with which film directors sought to demonstrate the superiority of their medium to sculpture. Musée hom even contains an episode in which one of the sculptures is unmasked as a mere cast and smashed; this is missing from Holleman s version, as are the actual porn scenes. What is left is a ballet of gazes. When Holleman wanted to sell the work and contacted Cadinot about the rights, the latter felt his own status as an artist was being denied, that his film was being relegated to the status of source material and puritanically censored even while Holleman argued that, far from censoring sexuality, he was showing the gaze to be utterly sexualized. Museum s shaky legal status is a reminder that capitalist copyright law sometimes functions like a new Commandment thou shalt not re-use, quote, or appropriate. Arnoud Holleman, born 1964, lives and works in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions (selection): Immovably Centred (in collaboration with theatre company mugmetdegoudentand), De Appel, Amsterdam, 2008; Nature as Artifice: New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, 2008, George Eastman House, Rochester, and Alte Pinakothek, Munich, ; Vijf portretten uit de videocollectie, De Hallen, Haarlem, 2008; Arnoud Holleman: Marcel, De Hallen, Haarlem, 2007; Just in Time, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2007; Arnoud Holleman, Artpace San Antonio, San Antonio, 2006; and Arnoud Holleman Being There, Stedelijk Museum and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Amsterdam, Imi Knoebel Page 6 of 16

7 Imi Knoebel, Untitled, 1969, oil paint on canvas on wood These two small square paintings, one white and one black, seem to sum up a whole history of art, in particular the black and white monochromes that recur throughout modernism, from the 1910s and 1920s to the 1960s. The most obvious reference here seems to be to Malevich s black squares, framed by a white border, which he called the zero of form ; later, he executed white-onwhite paintings. It is suggestive that in the late 1960s, when Imi Knoebel made these works, there was a burgeoning discourse on automation, cybernetics, the digital, and the use of computers in art. Time and again, authors drove home the point that computers operate by binary logic, through series of zeroes and ones. The meaning of abstract art itself changes in this context. Far from being a purely painterly practice, abstract art now becomes a programmable affair, something that can be executed with computers a step many artists took. Knoebel is not one of them, but this piece seems to reflect that the rules have changed even for abstract art using a more conventional medium. Instead of a zero of form, the artist has painted equivalents of a zero and a one, those fundamental abstractions that underlie current image production. Imi Knoebel, born 1940, lives and works in Düsseldorf. Recent exhibitions (selection): Ad Absurdum, MARTa Herford, Herford, 2008; Project, Transform, Erase: Anthony McCall and Imi Knoebel, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, 2007; Das Schwarze Quadrat. Hommage an Malewitsch-Gründungsbau, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 2007; Who s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? Positionen der Farbfeldmalerei, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, 2007; Imi Knoebel: Primary Structures 1966/2006, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2006; and Faster! Bigger! Better!, ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Gert Jan Kocken Page 7 of 16

8 Gert Jan Kocken, The New York Times, New York, Tuesday, September 11, 2001 (Microfilm, National Library NY), 2004, C-print A recent series of photographs by Gert Jan Kocken, part of a more extensive series on historical turning points, includes an enlarged microfilm of The New York Times front page from September 11, 2001, whose contents would become rather irrelevant that same morning, when the Twin Towers came crashing down. By a curious coincidence, an article on the front page informed readers of the arrest of a black power revolutionary who had hijacked a plane thirty years ago. Thus the photograph can be seen as a critique of the orchestration of forgetting including the forgetting of the social and political background to the 9/11 bombings which is present in an article Violence in Mideast. In a further case of uncanny synchronicity, this edition of the paper also contained an interview with another 1960s radical, former Weathermen member Bill Ayers, in which he stated that he did not regret bombing government buildings (in the early 1970s). This year, Barack Obama s contact with Ayers, who now teaches at the University of Illinois, led to attacks in the right-wing media; there s no politics like the politics of fear. Kocken s photograph suggests that in dealing with the events of 9/11 it is crucial to look behind images, to establish patterns and genealogies that may help us see beyond the terror that constitutes our horizon. sign up for newsletter enter your » Gert Jan Kocken, born 1971, lives and works in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions (selection): Nature as Artifice: New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, 2008, George Eastman House, Rochester, and Alte Pinakothek, Munich, ; The Past in the Present, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2008; Defacing, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Amsterdam, 2007; Dutch Dare Contemporary Photography from The Netherlands, Studio Marangoni, Florence, 2008, Erasmushuis, Jakarta 2008, and Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, 2006; CAPRI LXXI Krijn de Koning and Gert Jan Kocken, Capri, Berlin, 2006; and De God van Nederland, Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, Krijn de Koning Page 8 of 16

9 Krijn de Koning, drawing for the installation Work for five plaster casts, slide show and red rectangle, 2008 Although early Christianity destroyed many pagan Greco-Roman statues, eventually the former idols were rediscovered as aesthetic objects. From the Renaissance until the early nineteenth century, Classical Greek sculptures and their Roman copies were the most revered works of art in Europe, and later in the US. Under the impact of modernism, these idols-turned-artworks lost their exemplary aesthetic status; the rather dilapidated casts in this exhibition, from the collection of the Rijksakademie, seem to speak of this fall from grace, even if this institution long persevered in using them for teaching purposes. Today they are preserved as anachronistic relics whose value is hard to determine. The casts appear here as part of Krijn de Koning s structure, which mirrors and manipulates the exhibition space, and also contains an empty gallery with a monochrome red rectangle and a cabinet with a projection of faded 1970s color slides from Turkey, showing Greek and Roman antiquities from Asia Minor. As a gallery within the gallery, De Koning s structure functions as a machine for viewing and questioning debased and erased images. Krijn de Koning, born 1963, lives and works in Amsterdam. In 2007 De Koning received the prestigious Sikkens Prize. Recent exhibitions (selection): Unfinished Busines Dutch abstracts, Kunstverein Medienturm Graz, Graz, 2008; Ten Feet, De Vishal, Haarlem, 2008; Contour/Continuďteit, Heden en Verleden, Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft, 2007; les temps modernes, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan, 2007; Slewe Galerie, Amsterdam, 2007; Krijn De Koning in the Zuidas, Platform 21, Amsterdam, 2006; and Atelier Werk voor het Mondriaanhuis 2005, Het Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort, Willem Oorebeek Page 9 of 16

10 Willem Oorebeek, The Last Emperor Of The Wall Street Journal, 2006, wool tapestry, courtesy Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer, Cologne (photo: Lorenz Oeventrop, Cologne) Willem Oorebeek s Lip (Sync)/Face Lift is an appropriation of a demonstration video for a fitness apparatus designed to strengthen the facial muscles and lips. As in other works in the exhibition, the Blackouts and more ELLE-ELLE, the artist focuses on the construction of ideal female bodies in the contemporary media bodies that are often presented as the complete opposite of the veiled bodies of women wearing burquas and niqabs. In the Blackouts these media images of perfect womanhood themselves become veiled. In covering media images with a layer of black ink, through which the underlying images can still be glimpsed, Oorebeek paradoxically improves the visibility of images; the obstruction to the gaze creates attention. The Last Emperor Of The Wall Street Journal is a tapestry based on a newspaper clipping with a portrait of Alan Greenspan, the former chief of the US Federal Reserve. The image in itself seems like a futile attempt to personalize the global economy and the United States role in it, but this is only one element. A drawing rather than a photo, it is not only surrounded by type but also shot through with mirrored letters that show through from the other side of the page; in it Greenspan seems to be in the process of becoming disembodied information. Willem Oorebeek, born 1953, lives and works in Brussels. Recent exhibitions (selection): Die Lucky Bush, MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, 2008; Black is Black, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK), Ghent, 2007; Reading Back And Forth, Stadtmuseum Graz, Graz, 2007; The Shadow Cabinet part II, De Appel, Amsterdam, 2007; Willem Oorebeek bigger, higher, leader!, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK), Ghent, 2006; Duo Track Language and image in audiovisual art from Flanders and the Netherlands, argos, Brussels, 2006; and Once upon a time..., MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Page 10 of 16

11 Re-Magazine Re-Magazine, Re-Magazine #23: It s spring two thousand seven, no. 8 (spring 2002) In 2002, the artist Arnoud Holleman and the editors of Re-Magazine (Jop van Bennekom, Maria Barnas, Julia van Mourik, and Maaike Gottschal) placed apparent iconophobia at the service of an intensified perception of images. The publication largely consisted of a series of entries dating from the distant past through the 1980s and 1990s to the future, from a 2002 perspective. The issue masqueraded as the spring 2007 edition, stressing the status of the narrative as a possible history. In the notes, a narrative we reflects on various public and private events, culminating in the decision to avoid images a decision dated, tellingly, to the year 2001, the year of 9/11 and the beginning of the end of the iconophobic Taliban regime. We couldn t cope with the absence of pictures. It created irrational fears. We couldn t see what was happening in Afghanistan. We needed images. Ultimately the we come to the conclusion that, We need the absence of images to appreciate the quality of an image when we see one. This is apparent iconophobia in the service of iconophilia: less is more. Natascha Sadr Haghighian Page 11 of 16

12 Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Empire of the Senseless Part I, 2006, installation (motion detectors, construction site flood lamps, contact microphones, phosphorescent paint, and a text by Kathy Acker), installation view, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, courtesy Johann König, Berlin In this installation, viewers enter a brightly lit space; an all but invisible text on the wall at the far end of the space lights up in fluorescent letters when the lights go out. The text is a quotation from Kathy Acker s novel Empire of the Senseless, in which the narrator proclaims that, we should use force to fight representations which are idols, idolized images, that is to say, all the representations which exist for purposes other than enjoyment. As the viewer/reader makes his or her way down the lines, the letters fade until the tantalizing non sequitur that ends the quote Decomposing flesh moves me the most, the young whore said. Give me hell. is hardly visible. While the piece recalls the wall texts of Conceptual art, and indirectly the purely textual altarpieces erected in some Protestant churches in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Sadr Haghighian like Carl Andre emphasizes reading as an active and questioning process rather than as a transmission of sacred truth. In its combination of belligerent language and exhortations to avoid imitating the system s violence against people, the piece explores the contradictions of contemporary iconoclasm. The biography of Natascha Sadr Haghighian can be found at: Haim Steinbach Page 12 of 16

13 Haim Steinbach, Untitled (Malevich Tea Set, Hallmark Ghosts), 1989, mixed media installation, collection SM s Stedelijk Museum, s-hertogenbosch In the 1980s, commodity artists such as Jeff Koons and Haim Steinbach exacerbated and apparently glorified the whims of the market. Steinbach combined various objects on shelves, usually putting a few copies of one product next to a few of another, and he developed a pricing system in which the price he had paid for the objects was added to the price that he charged for the piece as an artwork the latter usually being far greater than the former. Marx polemically characterized the capitalist commodity as a fetish brimming with theological whims, thereby suggesting that capitalism was a mystifying system the commodity s behavior on the market appearing autonomous and capricious, a fetish possessed with a will of its own. To Marx, this was an illusion, since the value of a commodity is in actuality determined by the labor power invested in it. However, is the work of art not indeed a fetish whose value is determined in completely impenetrable ways, without being readable to a certain quantity of labor? Commodity art certainly suggested as much. In this piece, Steinbach juxtaposes the whiteness of Hallmark s cartoon version of the supernatural with that of Malevich s mystical vision of a non-objective world fetishistically objectified in porcelain. Haim Steinbach, born 1944, lives and works in Brooklyn. Recent exhibitions (selection): The Effect Haim Steinbach, Waddington Galleries, London, 2008; The Object is the Mirror (part II), Wilkinson Gallery, London, 2008; Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican, London, 2008; Nina in Position, Artists Space, New York, 2008; Branded and On Display, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, and other venues, ; Living in the Material World: Things in Art of the 20th Century and Beyond, The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2007; and The Gold Standard, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, Rosemarie Trockel Page 13 of 16

14 Rosemarie Trockel, Untitled (Double Cross), 1993, plaster casts, installation view, Kunststation St. Peter, Cologne, courtesy Galerie Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Berlin, London (photo: Bernhard Schaub, Cologne) Rosemarie Trockel s work consists of two identical plaster casts of an old wooden sculpture of Christ, hanging directly on the wall; this leaves out the cross itself, or absorbs it into the wall of the exhibition space. The piece literally decenters Christ and seemingly destroys the aesthetic cult value of the original artifact, replacing it with two casts in that cheapest of materials, plaster. Originally the piece was shown in Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, a church in Cologne that has been transformed into a center for encounters between art and religion. In keeping with this location a church that no longer functions as a church Trockel s piece is not an object of devotion. Transforming Jesus into a white ghost and multiplying the image, Ohne Titel (Doppelkreuz) seems to hint both at the mass production of devotional items and at the proliferation of editions in contemporary art editions which, in contrast to religious kitsch items, are strictly limited and thereby exclusive and expensive. As the work of a successful contemporary artist, Ohne Titel (Doppelkreuz) gains a powerful new, second-degree aura, and the double Christ itself becomes a unique and valuable piece that reflects, and reflects on, the role of modern artistic iconoclasm in producing value. Rosemarie Trockel, born 1952, lives and works in Cologne. Recent exhibitions (selection): KölnSkulptur 4, Skulpturenpark Köln, Cologne, ; 55th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, ; Ad Absurdum, MARTa Herford, Herford, 2008; Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican, London, 2008; Rosemarie Trockel Neue Arbeiten, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, 2008; Vertrautes Terrain Aktuelle Kunst in und über Deutschland, ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, ; Élégance, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 2007; skulptur projekte münster 07, Münster, 2007; Gladstone Gallery, New York, 2006; and Rosemarie Trockel Überblickschau, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Lidwien van de Ven Page 14 of 16

15 Lidwien van de Ven, Ramallah, 27/04/2006 (faceless), 2008, digital print on paper Lidwien van de Ven s photographs show faces that are somehow veiled or occluded. In one photo we see a Koran being held high during a manifestation in Paris; here the holy book itself becomes an image for the media, although it hides the face of the man holding it. The second picture shows a different form of erasure: a faded poster for a martyr (a suicide bomber), whose face has become unrecognizable. Finally, and most monumentally, a photo taken in the Iranian town of Isfahan shows a fully veiled mother and her grown-up son. Today both Islamic fundamentalists and western Enlightenment fundamentalists have come to use the fullbody veil (niqabs and burquas) to demonstrate the alleged incompatibility of Islam and the West, democracy, the Enlightenment, and so on. The West is identified with a regime of total visibility, while the veil is seen as an interruption of abstraction in this regime. Rather than going along with this polarizing rhetoric, Van de Ven creates a dialectic of figuration and abstraction, of veiling and unveiling. Lidwien van de Ven, born 1963, lives and works in Rotterdam. Recent exhibitions (selection): Under Erasure, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, 2008; Be(com)ing Dutch, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2008; documenta 12, Kassel, 2007; The Object Quality of the Problem, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2008; Collectiepresentatie XXI, MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, 2007; Speakers, aeroplastics contemporary, Brussels, 2007; The Shadow Cabinet part II, De Appel, Amsterdam, 2007; Immaterials, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, 2006; 15th Sydney Biennial, Sydney, 2006; Project Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2005; and Be what you want but stay where you are, Witte de With, Rotterdam, Who s Afraid of God?, 1997, designed by Marijke Kamsma, commissioned by Page 15 of 16

16 Archdiochese Utrecht, original and revised version More than ten years ago, the Archdiocese of Utrecht published a poster based on Barnett Newman s painting Who s Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue III. A few years before, this painting from the collection of Amsterdam s Stedelijk Museum had been slashed by a psychologically unhinged man. On the poster, intended for schools, the Archdiocese used a rather similar composition, with cuts that intersected so as to form a cross. The caption read: Who s Afraid of God? What makes this poster difficult to read and thus interesting is Christianity s, and particularly Catholicism s, divergent approach to representation. Are we to surmise that the red surface stands for an aniconic, Jewish, or Islamic God, and that the slashed crucifix is an attack on these religions? Or is the poster simply an indictment of modern art as empty, unredeemably profane, and meaningless unless stamped or incised with the mark of the cross? It does not appear that the bishopric had an interest in examining the complex relationship between modern particularly abstract art and monotheism. However, it is telling that a dispute emerged over this poster that had to be settled in court, when the Church was sued by an agency representing Newman s copyright. Religious controversies aside, one could say that it is the secular Second Commandment forbidding copyright infringement that most hinders the creative or critical use of images in today s society. Photographic reproductions of Michelangelo s Moses (ca ) This archive is a series of old photographs that show Michelangelo s funerary Monument for Pope Julius II and particularly its centerpiece, his Statue of Moses. We see the sculpture being dissected and reassembled, transformed by photography. Through framing and different viewpoints the photographs put the sculpture in motion, probing it from various angles, thereby making the object less remote and more accessible without dispelling its cult value and its aura, contrary to Walter Benjamin s claim. Time Magazine, cover, April 8, 1966 The April 8, 1966 issue of Time Magazine asked Is God Dead? This cover, which contrasts rather strikingly with recent magazine covers on religion, contains the bold red title on a monochrome black background, reminiscent of modernist abstraction from Rodchenko to Ad Reinhardt, thus reading abstract art as a cipher for the void left behind by the evaporated deity. << 1 >> Page 16 of 16

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