It seems economical to make use of a character already in play
27.04.13 – 16.06.13
The exhibition stages a dialogue between the video and installation art of Swedish artist Annika Eriksson (1956) and the performative interventions of Belgian artist Kelly Schacht (1983). Both artists – each grounded in their respective generations – use similar visual strategies. Where Eriksson mainly directs the exhibition space through the use of film, Schacht manipulates it with the aid of people and objects. Both narrative styles make use of the reversal of time and language, giving their scenarios an aura both of recognition and of the indefinable, like blind spots or ambiguous vacuums in space and time.
In the show I am the dog that was always here (loop), Annika Eriksson brings together a number of elements that are illustrative of her oeuvre. The scenarios that form the basis of Eriksson’s work call into question the perception of time, structures of power, and once acclaimed social views. Strategically, she instigates debates concerning the public realm and the structures that regulate it, revealing urban changes and how these are subject to unexpected political appropriations and inversions.
The works Eriksson presents at KIOSK engages with questions of time, its documented forms, and its reversal. Throughout the rooms, Eriksson sets up a number of possible scenarios in video works and three-dimensional interventions that include photographs, light boxes and panes of glass. These elements function as extensions of her new video work in the hemicycle room, I am the dog that was always here (2013), the central piece of the show. Stripped of all human presence, both the video and the monochrome photographs invoke an urban reality that is infused with a sense of timelessness and desolation.
The video is set in the outskirts of Istanbul and shows moments of transition and marginalised experiences of time, seen through the lens of a street dog. Having been moved by the authorities to peripheral pockets and no man’s lands outside the expanding city, the packs of dogs are continuously moving along lines of gentrification and corporate city making. Through looping and repetition, Eriksson relates this process to an experience of time that explores the present as a complex gap between past and future, an interstice in which an increasing process of erasure, spurred on by a shrinking public realm, also removes other registers of being and seeing.
The second video work, It did happen soon (2012), lets a similar fragmented narrative develop through grading layers of time. The film combines quotes from science fiction novels with documentary material gathered through research into the writings and memories of the Berlin ‘Kommune 1’, a collective movement that is commonly referred to as Germany’s first politically motivated commune. In a three-part loop a young actor recounts the story of his leaders and the desire for transformation. From our initial impression of looking back on the nineteen-sixties, the narrative slowly pushes us into an undetermined time and space: ‘I would say that the people appearing in the films all come out like some kind of ghosts trapped in time pockets.’
Kelly Schacht in turn responds to the exhibition space and Annika Eriksson’s work. For the duration of her show It seems economical to make use of a character already in play, the empty rooms will be activated by temporary interventions or ‘characters’ whose performative presence will resound in the human absence emphasized by Eriksson. As such, Schacht not only visualizes the relation between the work of art, the space and the visitor, but also the way in which this relation results in an individual participation in the work.
Schacht has drafted a scenario tailored to the exhibition space that will unfold over the course of the seven weeks of the exhibition. As in an unfolding minimal scenography, walk-on actors will engage in a dialogue with each other and objects. A number of gestures, movement patterns and compositions are written out in advance and are repeated and refined day after day. The exhibition space becomes a dynamic backdrop against which the characters become outlined like sculpture groups. An expanding loop of these ever-evolving still lifes gives ‘form’ to the imaginary space of the show. The work is a sequence of moments, somewhere in between a deserted stage and a potential meeting place. Like a postscript, It seems economical to make use of a character already in play aims to address what is hidden and the visitors’ imagination.