9/24/06

Jiri Kovanda Versus Rest Of The World

gb agency
20 rue Louise Weiss Paris, Sept – Oct 2006
curated by Guillaume Désanges and François Piron
expo-Jiri-Kovanda

I have been to gb agency a number of times. At the opening of a group show there I asked a friend/critic to explain the idea. He told me to wait and went to talk to the gallerist. After more than five minutes he returned and relayed the gallerist’s words with much detail. I see the gallerists there talking to everyone.

I was there recently to see this show and wanted the list of works. The gallerist asked if I knew the artist’s work and then spent a considerable amount of time explaining the works and the curatorial concept to me. I didn’t feel mistaken for a collector and I appreciated that the gallery takes seriously their role as ‘agency’, as action and medium between the artist’s work and the audience in a one-on-one interaction. Unusual in this time, such a positive gesture towards speech and contact.
Jacqueline Riva

4 Comments:

Blogger speech said...

Jiri Kovanda Versus Rest Of The World September 9 – October 14
gb agency, Paris

An exhibition curated by
Guillaume Désanges and François Piron (Work Method)

One of the most impressive living artists in Czech Republic, Jiri Kovanda has realised since the late 70s discreet actions, almost impossible to distinguish from real life : bumping into passers-by, waiting for the telephone to ring, attempting to meet girls in the street… Poetical as much as political, like Bas Jan Ader or Douglas Huebler’s works, his gestures question the place of an individual in social space, staying apart from any reaction to the context of the soviet period in Eastern Europe.
With historical and recent pieces, the exhibition will propose as well a curatorial statement : a series of links to Kovanda’s work through a vast number of documents, roughly xeroxed : reproductions of works of art, of news images… Associations of ideas, visual echoes, intuitive links, structural or formal. Jiri Kovanda’s work, at the centre of this web of images, gestures and energies, proves its universality.

Guillaume Désanges and François Piron

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Daniele Balit said...

Ho potuto visitare questa mostra e devo dire che mi ha fatto un'ottima impressione. Mi è piaciuto il modo in cui i curatori hanno sviluppato la loro idea costruendo un network di associazioni a partire da ogni opera di Jiri Kovanda, senza tuttavia oscurarne il lavoro.

Il focus rimane ben definito su Kovanda, mentre la ragnatela di percorsi interpretativi che Guillaume Désanges e François Piron hanno dispiegato, si sviluppa lasciando la libertà di seguirne i fili oppure no. Trovo che questo sia l'aspetto piu' riuscito del progetto. Portare avanti un discorso critico forte, che diviene un terreno interpretativo in cui affondano le radici dell'opera, ma al tempo stesso agire con una certa discrezione, fancendo in modo che ogni lettura possa - volendo - rimanere in secondo piano.

Non a caso la superficie dei muri è stata divisa in una zona bianca, ad altezza occhi, su cui si situavano le opere di Kovanda, ed in una zona grigia, al di sotto di quella bianca e che arrivava fino al suolo, che accoglieva le varie immagini raffiguranti i lavori di altri artisti messi in relazione con Kovanda dai curatori. Un aspetto plastico da non trascurare, un'attenta ed efficace 'mise en espace' dell'idea costitutiva della mostra.
Ogni lavoro di Kovanda, così, diviene il vertice di una sorta di piramide interpretativa che si dispiega sotto di esso.

Curiosamente non lontano da GB Agency, è in corso un'altra mostra, intitolata Domino, alla galleria Air de Paris, che si basa anch'essa su di un'idea curatoriale 'forte': una mostra in divenire, che comincia con un'opera, e come nel gioco del domino, si costruisce per associazioni, attraverso il coinvolgimento di diverse personalità dell'arte. Nel corso del tempo la mostra così cresce e va a riempire quegli spazi che inizialmente sono lasciati vuoti. Un'idea originale, anche divertente (il gioco puo' essere seguito sul sito www.airedeparis.com), ma che passa immediatamente in primo piano rispetto ai lavori, che invece mi sembrano rimanere fuori fuoco. Al visitatore infatti non sono date chiavi di lettura per comprendere le associazioni tra le opere e si rimane cosi' di fronte a delle scelte che risultano essere piuttosto arbitrarie.

9:14 PM  
Blogger geoff lowe said...

If you go to see a Shirin Neshat video installation at Barbara Gladstone Gallery in New York the room is so dark you can barely see your hand in front of your face let alone who is watching with you in the same room. An unmediated encounter. Like Mark Rothko trying achieve a pure union between the viewer and the raw presence of the painting.
Each time I've been to GB Agency and at a loss to understand what the shows were about, a friend would go ask in French then re-tell about the work or artist. The discourse around these works could lack immediacy but there was no point at which I felt that this text we were talking about was 'literary'.
After ten minutes in 'Jiri Kovanda Versus Rest Of The World' I felt a bored flash because, I had to go on to see more and there was too much to encounter in a short time. But like any other useful text the exhibition had started its work on me.
It seems there is presently more work to be done by the gallerist and the viewer than there is by the artist.
Even though the exhibition is complex and long it provides another flash that we are doing something together.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Daniele said...

Just to add some more thoughts in reply to Geoff's entry, I find interesting the possibility to have multiple levels in an exhibit. And I think that was the case of the show at GBA. I've found myself quite free to chose how to approach it. To just look at the works of Kovanda without giving attention to what curators have added with their interpretative work, or rather to follow the paths developed by them.
It's not easy to find an equilibrium in this sense, between the exhibition as a text, or as a display.

10:36 AM  

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