Friday, April 27, 2007

Modern Solitude - Group Show until 19.05, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam

Group exhibition with:
Eylem Aladogan, Natalia Benedetti, Job Koelewijn, Gabriel Lester, Renzo Martens, Shana Moulton, Magali Reus and Berend Strik

'However, contrary to what Nietzsche had in mind, no new values arose to take the place of the rejected Christian doctrines. As a result, we now live in a fairly nihilist society: we have thrown off the yoke of Christian dogmas, but what has replaced them is little more than a vacuum.'
Michel Houellebecq, Elementaire deeltjes, Singel Pockets, 2004. p.80

The individual is the greatest good of our age - in fact it has become our modern religion. That is a consequence of modernity; it is one of the fruits of emancipation and Enlightenment. In our time, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is another, potent and unexpected side to this individualism. For the modern individual is solitary: a solitude that does not just imply singularity or loneliness, but that can exist precisely amid a pluralist world. It is this multiformity, or perhaps the lack of direction and inconsistencies of the present-day world, which are at the root of modern solitude.

The exhibition Modern Solitude deals with various facets of the modern individual's solitary existence. These facets include the urge to inject meaning into life through spirituality, sexuality and physicality - which cannot ultimately fill the void - and the impossibility of ever experiencing 'the other', because of the great differences in ways of life. But most important of all is the instrumental approach to others, to nature, and to everything that can provide life with purpose, as a result of which present-day human beings are thrown back on their own resources. The freedom that modernity promises proves to be a solitary freedom.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jean Lowe at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, LA

For her third exhibition at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Jean Lowe stages another parable of cultural criticism. Several freestanding bookcases made of enamel paint on papier-m�ch� house over 200 books also made of enamel paint on papier-m�ch�. With fictional titles such as Achieve and Maintain a More Powerful Delusion and The Taking of South Coast Plaza, or in some cases real titles such as The Power of Positive Thinking (remapped onto what looks like the cover of a romance novel) and Contemporary Genocide, Lowe�s installation takes us from the humorous to the dire through the perilous micro-economies of desire and self-worth that frame the complacency of our hyper-individualized consumer culture. Elsewhere in the gallery four landscape paintings in enamel on masonite lift us out of the mire of our individual concerns only to bump us up against the ceilings of the mega-stores that nurture and contain them. In the project room a series of large, beautifully rendered, three-dimensional mandala paintings surround a baby grand piano that doubles as an ice chest.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Collage until 22.04 Chinese Contemporary Gallery, Beijing

Beijing's emergence as a global city has given rise to some of China's boldest architecture and most innovative advertising. In Collage, Chinese Contemporary Gallery will show the works of four of Beijing's most prominent architects and advertisers, Ma Yongsong, Wang Yonggang, Yang Haihua and Zhou Rong. Ma Yongsong, best known for his design of the Absolute Tower in Mississauga, Canada, has created a rainbow for this exhibition. With this rainbow, he hopes to reunite urbanism, technology and human emotion. Wang Yonggang's work, New Taihu Stone, boldly redesigns the Taihu stone and addresses the ways in which modern architecture structurally redefines and reinvents traditional architectural forms. Yang Haihui takes a comical turn in his work, "Audio and Visual Aids." His performance will provide viewers with a self-administered audio-visual test in the form of plates flung like discuses against a concrete wall. Lastly, Zhou Rong playfully critiques the construction of and the motivation behind Beijing largest and most important urban landmarks in his works, Shang-Jing Banquet and Shang-Jing Sketch