New Viewings #32
Curated by Clémentine Deliss
Each artist in DELIRIUM draws on states of mind, creating images that negotiate multiple myths and reverse realities. A tribe transvests into another community, grottos with hidden eyes draw you into nature’s underbelly, a voice sings in fear of being buried alive, and with cinematographic calm, the white gallery transforms into a sandy studio-museum of the street.
Delirium is present everywhere today, in the quotidian as in the speculative, in domestic illusions of self-containment, or outdoors in the petrified cities we inhabit. There are changing extremes, projections of disorder, sudden stillness, sharp skies, fever, agitation and torpor. The artists in DELIRIUM jolt us out of this swoon and back to our utopian faculties. It’s a wild ride of contrasting experiences: Krista Belle Stewart reveals a plantation of teepees occupied by German “Indianer”, Eva Stenram’s patchwork persona flees into caves overflowing with stalactites and porn-stars’ eyes, trees begin to sprout arms, and Augustin Maurs’ operatic rant of “die Welt… die Welt…”, “the World… the World…” takes possession of the gallery. Then one of the walls disappears and we are translocated outdoors to a scene in Dakar and a visual syntax of ephemeral figures and coded signals painted by El Hadji Sy with tar, oil and acrylic on metal sheeting. These manifestations of New Viewings, with their spatial elasticity and sensory impact, are pivotal evocations voiced against the daily apocalypse that surrounds us.
Augustin Maurs, *1975 in France,
lives and works in Berlin
“The starting point for this piece was a found document, the “Transcription of the Phonogram of a Schizophrenic”, a musical score transcribed from the recorded chanting of an anonymous psychiatric patient in Germany in 1899. The piece brings the document through different and delirious states of notation, performance and capture – from the lost ‘phonographic mise-en-scène’ undertaken by the patient to its inscription on the white walls of the gallery, which has become virtual. The transcription is no longer that of an isolated, anonymous patient, but of schizophrenia herself; the world, me.” Augustin Maurs
Krista Belle Stewart
Krista Belle Stewart, *1979 in Canada,
lives and works in Vancouver, Canada and Brooklyn, New York, USA
“A Guest A Host A Ghost”
In Krista Belle Stewart’s blood-red environment, we witness a delirium of spatial affect. The twists of emotion that circulate in the virtual gallery include love, pride, belonging, nostalgia, euphoria, vulnerability and shame.
Against the backdrop of Saxony’s hills and valleys, her film Nine ∞ introduces us to the Band of Broken Arrows, a club of redfaced ‘German Indianer’ whose hobby is to step into the shoes and habitat of Indigenous cultures. In another view part the gallery, large organic urns sit totemically above industrial plastic buckets. These Capsules are containers of an ecology of sacred knowledge, like embodied histories of the land. For Stewart, the soil of the earth is the ultimate archive, holding the code of generations of Indigenous peoples, including her family and her community, the Syilx Nation, (Okanagan, British Columbia). About eight years ago, she was gifted 50 acres in Spaxomin (Douglas Lake) by her mother, thereby continuing a matriarchal line of women guardians of the land. This lakeside territory is in her charge, and as an artist she begins to incorporate the land in her journey of recognition.Read more
Eva Stenram, *1976 in Stockholm, Sweden,
lives and works in Berlin
To tell the story, we begin with “Runner”, a fractured woman, her head severed and face distorted, who flees across the gallery towards prehistoric caves.
She is a composite made of cut-offs from different photographic stagings, like those found in sports magazines, fashion imagery, pornographic sets, but also visual instructions for handicrafts. A few years back, Eva Stenram was commissioned by Numéro magazine to shoot a feature with Chanel clothes. The model, like all the personae she creates, was constructed from the face and limbs of easily ten different women.Read more
El Hadji Sy
El Hadji Sy, *1954
lives and works in Dakar, Senegal
Photo © Pap Bâ
“The best way I can think of to carry out this idea of danger on stage is the unforeseen which is objective, the unforeseen not in situations but in things, the sudden unexpected transition from a mental image to a real image.” (Antonin Artaud, ‘For the Theatre and its Double’ 1931-36)
In El Hadji Sy’s virtual mise-en-scene, the inner walls of the Galerie Barbara Thumm slide over into his “Musée de la rue” or museum of the street. The two spaces in Berlin and Dakar become stages for a double choreography with one set leading seamlessly into the other. Sy may be showing a series of paintings in both locations, but he is also defining an ‘operational site’, (“site opératoire”), a space for dramaturgical superimpositions that are visual, sonic and conceptual. In this cinematographic tension, Sy’s virtual museum of the street plays the role of intermediary, a place for trading perceptions, and for the rehabilitation of art and its incessant “aesthetic anarchy”(Iba N’diaye Diadji).Read more