Friday, 16 August 2013

Eternity is a Long Time...

Dedicated to Maria

"This is an absolute nonsense. It sounds like a six year old kid's statement" said my friend
"This is a title of an exhibition"
"Still, this statement sounds illogical"
"I have not come up with it. Apparently, not only curators like to give limits to unlimited notion: "Eternity is long, especially towards the end" (Enrico Bruno)."

Hangar Bicocca hosts an exhibition with a poetic title “Eternity is a Long Time” dedicated to Mike Kelley. 

I cannot say that Mike Kelley is among my favorite artists, yet, from curatorial point of view the exhibition was a well-done project. Free entrance was a bonus surprise. Nevertheless, there were two unpleasant discoveries: stuffy air (despite probably ten meter height space) and prohibition to take pictures.

Recently I had a long long discussion with a lady working at Gapchinska gallery in Kiev regarding no-pictures gallery policy - the request of the artist to minimize low-quality images/ideas unauthorized use. This is probably an inevitable decision of premium-priced artist in a country where she cannot protect her intellectual property. For the remaining cases, I 
sincerely do not understand why in certain galleries or museums it is not allowed to take pictures as I incline to Maria Loshak’s, the new director of State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and previously Moscow's Manez exhibition space, opinion that it is important to involve the visitor and create multiple points of contact, photography being one of them and if prohibiting, in any way, those willing to take the pictures would find the ways of taking them (it reminded me a thorough strategy of driving attention of exhibition watchers to ensure my friend takes a picture of Catalan's hanging horse in Turin few years ago! After more than 10 minutes we succeeded). 

In the exhibition I really liked only two pieces: commissioned by Louvre for its Les américains et le Louvre 2006  exhibition Profondeurs Vertesa three channel video installation coupled with  sound accompaniment starting with a Traditional Sea Chanty complete with waves, seagulls, and creaking timbers, piano and harp piece based on C.T.Griffes' Veil of Dreams and moving to an orchestral rendition of the Shark Attack from John Singleton Copley’s painting Watson and the Shark (1777). Intertwined with quotations and cross-references to above mentioned Copley's work and Thomas Wilmer Dewing's The Recitation (1891), this piece, in my opinion, is the most recent, poetic, aesthetic and profound on display.

Profondeurs Vertes, 2006. Source: Agostino Osio for Domus
Profondeurs Vertes, 2006. Source: Agostino Osio for Domus
 My sneaky picture of a sketch of  elements decomposition of John Singleton 
Copley’s painting Watson and the Shark (1777) split across seven paper sheets
 Since these sheets had uneven surface or had various 
inclination angle, they created uneven and shapes and lights on the floor

Second piece was John Glenn Memorial Detroit River Reclamation Project (Including The Local Culture Pictorial Guide, 1968-1972, Wayne/Westland Eagle), 2001 - made for Artists' Take on Detroit: Project for Tricentennial exhibition in 2001 with the central theme of depicting a local culture of the city Kelley was born and grew up. The astronaut (after whom Mike's school was named) is elevated over fragments of glass, metal and ceramic clustered by color and glued to panels. Kelley found these items by chance in Detroit River - these were the reminiscent of a waste dump of the 1920s and 1930s. Next to the sculpture are big showcases that contain local newspaper cuts reported in three themes 'documentary', 'nostalgic', and 'artistic' - inviting for further exploration, interaction and pulling out some of the cases, this part was actually a "do not touch" one.

Source: Agostino Osio for Domus
Kelley was a kidder: in this installation there were several nice chairs, 
part of installation, therefore, piece of art that cannot be seated on, yet, the way they 
were placed inside for me were more like an invitation "take a seat and study the drawings"
Etracuricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene), 2000
Source: Agostino Osio for Domus
Etracuricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #6,7 
(Woods Group), 2004-2006.Source: Agostino Osio for Domus


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