Monday, November 21, 2011

Urban Instagram (Warsaw Year Zero)

 A few weeks ago I visited Warsaw
for a lecture at the Faculty of Architecture
that was part of the FATA MORGANA XV OSSA 2011 WWA
later on Grzegorz Piątek, one of the two curators of Golden Lion winning Hotel Polonia in Venice Architecture Biennial, took me for a walk around Warsaw, explaining how the city had been meticulously reconstructed after being basically wiped out during strategic WWII bombing.
I thought it was funny that in Poland they still talk about WWII, whereas in Greece so many other things, the current crisis included, have happened. 
Had time stood still in Warsaw? Was it still WWII?

Apparently the Warsawians had made careful plans of every historical building in the center, because they predicted that the center would be bombed, so they were ready to reconstruct even before it would destruct.
Sp after the war they were perfectly able to rebuild everything perfectly, going as fas as using the original materials of the buildings.
the made only slight adjustments so that, for example the main square, would become picture perfectly picturesque but just with a little bit of extra space for events. 
Around the 1970's the Warsawians completed the reconstruction of the wiped out buildings, and started renovating the "saved" buildings that survived the bombing.

This could be one of those 17th century "saved" buildings, freshened up in the 90s.
but this is a building built in the 1970's which now has started to acquire a bit of patina.
Suddenly I realized that the "17th century buildings" that were built in the 60's and 70's looked older and more authentic than the real 17th century buildings from the 17th century, because those had been freshened up in the 90's and 00's. This was Instagram Urbanism!
rushing to my photoshop actions, I made my 2011 photo of a 1970's 17th century building look like it was taken in the 1920s.

Then I examined more of the buildings, trying to understand if they were new original, 
old original, refurbished authentic or simulated old new.

Time had indeed stood still, but it was more of a time warp that a freeze frame
but perhaps Warsaw, by warping into this time machine urbanism had become the best example of out non-new non-time specific Tumblr Times, 
where everything that's interesting is new.

we ended the walk by the old castle, so perfectly manicured during it's reconstruction, and perhaps because it was one of the later examples, it ends up looking as new as the Giant Regional Style Shopping Malls that crowd the suburban exurban nowherelands of Central Europe, 
when in fact it's just a really old uber botoxed castle.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Art among the ruins (last Sunday, I said hello and waved goodbye to ReMap3)

(Marc Bauer taken out of context at Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, curated by Stefan Burger)

And it feels like this Sunday we might be waving goodbye to Greece as we knew it, maybe for the best.
In any case, back to art. I had not seen Remap3, which opened September when I was up in Thessaloniki, and had to catch the closing. Angelo said that we should start from the show that Rallou Panagiotou had curated at the Kunsthalle Athena location, and indeed the three shows clustered together were amongst the strongest in a really great overall remap, a program that really energizes and brings together the entire Athens scene. (Just like the Athens Biennial, Kunsthalle Athena, Deste Foundation and all the great initiatives that make Athens a fantastic place for art, especially in these really strange times). Art among the ruins.

Rallou watching "The Color of the Pomegranade" by Sergei Parajanov, as the show was a collaboration between Rallou and Anthea Hamilton and Lorna McIntyre proposing works to be displayed next to their works, or something like that. Behind them a gigantic Rob Tufnell became a work.

great new work by Jennifer West

found photos arranged on plumbing pipes (with something done to the wall too)
some Greek theater about to be eaten by a lion?

cardbox wall by Ron Kennedy at Transmission Gallery

Whats great about ReMap is that gallery shows feel like artists run initiatives, artists expand onto the space  freely, and somehow looking at art becomes an almost authentic experience.
(Marc Bauer showed drawings on paper and then did more drawings next to them on the wall)

this was not a work, but it looked appropriate so they left it there. maybe it becomes a work when it grows up?

a staircase fell off the wall, 
and became a plinth, in the most natural of ways
Yorgos Sapountzis from the back
and the front
five drawings and two holes in the wall at Keramikou 43 (but I dont remember if it is Balice-Hertling, Peres or some other gallery)

artist Katerina Kana seemed to find something nice in the wall
Rallou solo show at iBid, at Keramikou 51
with amazing marble Frappe sipping straw, perhaps the best symbol for Greece
which by the way is in one of the buildings I have worked on, in this area for KM
sleeping homeless made of wood? by lovely Margarita Myrogianni
super absurd and super clever Matisse inspired interior depicting the rooms of Beverly Hills 90210 by Antonakis Christodoulou
another great Sapountzis
chopped and abused ceramics by Ira Triandafillidou, curated by Kostas Sahpazis

a properly framed rock ( "polymeric recrystallized carbonate") by Zoe Giabouldaki

Aleksandra Waliszewska curated by Marina Vranopoulou

great Museum Copies by Stelios Karamanolis + Tula Plumi

a painting by Robert Suemondt was too large for his studio, he photographed it as it got stuck in the kitchen, and it became a metaphor for the show curated by Alexios Papazacharias
silver faded Greek flag in the twillight
Luca Trevisani at Mehdi Chouakri
Gerwald Rockenschaub at Eva Presenhuber
great new neon+pottery pieces by Alexandros Tzanis

Forgotten Bar / Galerie Utopia by Tjorg Douglas Beer
photos of photos of photos of works at Forgotten Bar. You could make your own photo too
Visually striking Hope at Breeder

Greek beefcake drawers by Antonakis Christodoulou in a two man show with Kostantin Kakanias
of course a lot of the things you see look like works
like this Could_Have_Been_Kounellis
and more sexy beefcake greekness by Kakanias
another great Tzannis, in the group show he curated, and with which we closed our remap tour

where you could see amazing vitrines by Theo Michael, apparently shown before but with the wrong lighting, so it was as if i saw them for the first time.

more Alexandros Tzannis, with brand new pieces

Marcus Selg new film about a Norwegian queen
saying goodbye to something too