Thursday, June 30, 2011

Elmgreen & Dragset, "The One & The Many"

Elmgreen & Dragset, "The One & The Many", 2011. Photo from culture and life.

I like artworks that demand participationSettings that I become a part of or works that are only realized if I engage myself in them.

I very much enjoy showing "Boy Scout" (2008) to kids that visit Bergen Art Museum, where I work as a Museum Lecturer.

And there are several works by Elmgreen & Dragset that I wish that I had had a chance to see: "Just a Single Wrong Move" (2004), "Prada Marfa" (2005), and "The Collectors" (2009).

So I think that I will just have to go to Rotterdam to experience "The One & The Many" before it closes on September 25.

Elmgreen & Dragset, "The One & The Many", 2011. Photo from culture and life.

Then I believe I will have to go by boat to an old submarine wharf, where I will walk down a spooky "subway" tunnel that will take me to a ghetto-like city scape inhabited by people that I would not feel safe to encounter in real life.

Elmgreen & Dragset, "The One & The Many", 2011. Photo from culture and life.

I will go for a ride on the Ferris wheel and peek through the windows to see what the tenants in the apartment building are up to, and if possible, I will enter the building to take a closer look.

According to Sjarel Ex, who presents "The One & The Many" in the following video, I will get so engaged in the stories that are played out in the work, that I will continue thinking about the people I have encountered long after I have left the place.

In this next video, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset talk about "The One & The Many" and another work they will have going for the next year in front of the Rotterdam City Hall: "It's Never Too Late To Say Sorry".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Christoph Marthaler, "plus minus zero"

Christoph Marthaler, "plus minus zero". Photo from der neue Merker.

This year's Bergen International Festival is nearing its end, and I have not had time to see by far as many shows as I would have wanted to. But last night I went to a performance that was presented as theatre: Christoph Marthaler's "plus minus zero". What a lucky choice! - Though maybe not a very likely one, since I had read an unfavorable review in Bergens Tidende the same morning. Too bad that paper sends a theatre critic to review a work like this, and not an art critic. Because complaining about lack of storyline and coherence seems to me completely beside the point as long as Marthaler communicates precisely through his break with theatre convention.

Christoph Marthaler, "plus minus zero". Photo from NCF.

The seemingly incoherent mix of scenography viewed as installation art; choir music performed in human tableaux;  text presented in different languages, and thus enhanced, sometimes like poetry; simple movement repeated in dancelike patterns; Inuit stories told without translation (but with clues given through body language); the slowness, stillness and meditation; - it all suggests notions of a world view so different from western rationale that we simply cannot understand it through linear, analytic communication.