SCULPTURE PROJECTS MÜNSTER 07

Article from ArtSEEN Journal, Summer 2007


Despite the rain, the slight chill, and perhaps only half a day to view this sculptural event, I remained pleasantly surprised by the high quality of works on view throughout the city center and surrounding areas of Muenster.  The fact that only 33 artists were selected for this event also tells me that the motivations behind the show are also very different from those in Venice and Kassel.  Here in this small city is an event that happens only every ten years and is by all means worth experiencing.


Sculpture – I have very specific memories of a classmate on my MA course in London getting grilled during a critique.  The tutor was attempting to get the point across to my classmate that their work was referencing all to closely sculptural practices from the 1950s.  What was interesting to me was that this person’s critique was so much more intense than any of the other students on my course.  By the end, however, I wasn’t so much feeling sorry for my fellow student being critiqued as much as I was unnerved that all the other students on the course were getting off so easily.  And it was with this thought that I began to see that the tight nit communities that exist in and around sculpture keep the discourse surrounding sculptural practices at an extraordinarily high level.  


I suppose I tell this story to illustrate the fact that sculptors have never let the market completely take away their medium from them.  And it is indeed their medium.  When I look through the various catalogues from Venice and Documenta I see that curators and critics have spilled all sorts of ink over various artists works.  Then I open the Muenster catalogue and there is the artist talking about her work and a very well informed critic discussing the work and how it developed.  The artist tells the story of how she came to Muenster and experienced the town, looking for just the right place or space or thing in which to confront sculpture in a small urban context.  Such an artist is Pae White with her work ‘my-fi, Tacos from Marzipane, 2007’.  The tacos made out of marzipan and topped with lemon and radishes make their way into a beautiful café next to other elaborate sweets located just across from an old cathedral.  What a marriage between LA and Muenster! One I personally would never have thought possible but this is the real beauty of art.  When an artist can talk about love, as White has, and relationships and actually make it work on the streets of a city where she has never lived.  It makes all the other overblown political statements of so many naïve artists just look silly, and actually helps the people of one place recognize the qualities of another without being told what to like or dislike about something through advertising.


Naturally the city also invites artists to interpret the definition of sculpture very openly.  So after four such events the city begins to reflect those sculptural tendencies.  A Donald Judd sculpture is testament to a certain time just as are Claus Oldenberg’s works.  One is literally able to see what sculpture has become over the past forty years.  There really is a sense that an artist interested in sculpture could come and actually learn about this medium in a way that counts – that is relevant to the practice.  And there is no better teacher or school than the work itself.  Muenster Sculpture Projects remains for me the ideal of what art can be in today’s world.  I would hope, therefore, that people will realize that being selective is sometimes the only real solution to creating an event that has any true significance and resonance for both artists and viewers alike.  

Artist: Pae White
Title /Year: Installation view, mi-fi, Sound-installation (detail), (2007)
Media: tacos; marzipan, food colouring; three glockenspiels with new songsCourtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: Sculpture Projects Münster 07 

Artist: Hans-Peter Feldmann
Title /Year: Installation view, WC Facilities on the Domplatz (2007)Media: Refurbishment of the public toilets, various materiealsCourtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: Sculpture Projects Münster 07 

Artist: Pawel Althamer
Title /Year: Installation view, Path (2007)
Media: Performative installation, lenght circa 1kmCourtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: Sculpture Projects Münster 07 

Artist: Susan Philipz
Title /Year: Installation view, The lost reflection (2007)Media: Audio installation under the TorminbrückeCourtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: Sculpture Projects Münster 07 


PHOTO DIARY FROM DOCUMENTA 12 

 

Artist: N/A
Title /Year: Installation view, Aue-Pavillion (2007)Media: N/A
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: documenta 12 

Artist: Trisha Brown
Title /Year: Installation view, Untitled (2007)
Media: 5 drawings; charcoal, pastel, felt-tip on paperCourtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: documenta 12 Courtesy: N/A 

Artist: Lotty Rosenfeld
Title /Year: Exhibition View, Una milla de cruces sobre al pavimento (I979)
Media: Video (16mm film transfered to DVD   Courtesy: N/A                                                                                          Photo by: ArtSEEN journal                                                                                                                                                              Notes: documenta 12  Courtesy: N/A 

Artist: Lin Yilin
Title /Year: Exhibition view, Safely Manoeuvering Accros Lin He Road (1995)Media: Video
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: documenta 12 

Artist: Iñigo Mangiano - Ovalle
Title /Year: The Radio (2007)
Media: Anodized Aluminium, red foil, sound
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: documenta 12 Courtesy: N/A 

Artist: John McCracken
Title /Year: Installation view, Swift (2007)Media: Bronze
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: documenta 12 

THE ITALIAN PAVILION (excerpt from Biennale review)


The 52nd Venice Biennale was characterized by a museum like curatorial feel both in the Arsenale and at the Italian pavilion in the Giardini.  Robert Storr’s interest in painting was most evident in this pavilion as big name artists such as: Sigmar Polke, Robert Ryman, Gerhard Richter, Susan Rothenberg, and Ellsworth Kelly all made an appearance.  Storr’s idea to go with ‘mature’ artists, therefore, was quite obvious.  A decision that perhaps at first glance would appear rather simplistic as one could easily say that big names guarantee a certain amount of success given their established status in the recent history of art.  It is well noted, however, that painters usually come into their stride late in life, and so, this decision can also be seen as a way to let these artists shine.  


Sigmar Polke’s series of large scaled mixed media works for example were absolute contemporary masterpieces.  I suppose what struck me so much about this work, a series entitled Axis of Time, was the sincerity with which they were executed.  It is well known that Polke uses irony and has often been subversive when using painting as his elected medium.  This series, however, left me breathless and any hint of irony seemed to have been avoided altogether.  The transparent layers of violet pigments and other materials on dark fabric stirred up feelings of the sublime yet in a way that evoked fragility rather than heroic fool heartedness.  Seeing the wooden structure underneath the transparent fabric allowed for a complete understanding of how the paintings were constructed - a structure that perhaps can act as a symbol for the ebb and flow of things and relationships that are forever in movement and just beyond our earnest wishes to organize and define the mysteries of life.


I also felt Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Ryman made strong appearances.  The still boldness of Kelly contrasted with the soft ephemeral touch of Ryman was an excellent demonstration of the vast differences that inhabit the world of abstract painting.  Another abstract painter Raoul De Keyser was positioned not far from Ryman.  The importance of exhibiting this painter at the Biennale helps provide a broader context for the painting that has come out of Belgium in recent years.  Luc Tuymans for example has received a great deal of fan fair over the past eight years, but it is indeed Raoul De Keyser who predates him and who (at age 77) provides us with work that is very similar in palette and size without, however, the political overtones that accompany the majority of Tuymans’ works.  The forms in De Keyser’s paintings are more ambiguous and thus give us the opportunity to absorb the poetic in an arena that emulates and reflects the somewhat disturbing light of Northern Europe.  

Artist: Sigmar Polke
Title /Year: Exhibition view, Axis of Time paintings (2005)Media: Mixed media on fabric
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: la Biennale di Venezia, 52nd International Art Exhibition 

Artist: Sigmar Polke
Title /Year: Exhibition view, Axis of Time paintings (2005)Media: Mixed media on fabric
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: la Biennale di Venezia, 52nd International Art Exhibition 

Artist: Ellsworth Kelly
Title /Year: Exhibition view, White Relief painting (2006)
Media: Oil on canvas, two joined panels
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: la Biennale di Venezia, 52nd International Art Exhibition 

Artist: Robert Ryman
Title /Year: Exhibition view, Series (White) paintings (2003-4)Media: Oil on canvas
Courtesy: N/A
Photo by: ArtSEEN journal
Notes: la Biennale di Venezia, 52nd International Art Exhibition 

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