Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Galerie Dennis Cooper presents ... Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
'In Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s hyperliterate work -- whether video, installation or film, or a mixture of the two -- time and space are the media. She doesn’t set out to prove something; she’s more like a scientist building an experiment. The hypothesis behind a recent multi-media performance “K.62”: “What if the time you spent going to the theater was, in fact, more important than the performance itself?’” The piece, with its if-a-tree-falls-and-no-one-hears-it ambiguity (it seems Gonzalez-Foerster’s answer is yes) and cross-cultural references, is emblematic of a lot of her work.
'The artist builds environments layered with personal memories and cultural citations. Her short films have turned the spotlight on cities through a series of seemingly mundane experiences. She turned the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern into a dystopian vision of London’s future where you could pick up a copy of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds and read it under supersized versions of a public sculpture by Alexander Calder and Louise Bourgeois. At the Dia Foundation’s Hispanic Society, she built dioramas, with the help of the Natural History Museum, filled with books instead of fauna.
'In situations like this, ideas of beginning and end are meaningless. Her work relies, instead, on an audience to activate it. She presents the situation, and then it’s open to the audience to play the role of detective. But what about those people who left the performance? If they didn’t make it all the way to the big reveal, did they fully experience the piece? “It’s one of the possibilities,” says Gonzalez-Foerster. “It’s also one possibility that’s given to any audience at any show—to leave; why not? Maybe the person who left, she got out and then she did something else that she wouldn’t have done… it’s still connected. I would say this is the beauty of that structure. At one point, the way it’s set, it can include almost any accident or event.”
'If you follow that logic, then the community created with “K.62” includes the audience in the theater, all the Ks, and every one of the people they pass on their journeys. You could probably say that about everything -- the idea of the unfortunate butterfly who flaps his wings in China causing a rainstorm in Central Park -- but how often do you think about it? That’s the space where Gonzalez-Foerster works.
'To get to those questions, those elemental experiences, you have to shake things up, change some parameters, and maybe even get a little uncomfortable, she explains. It’s an artistic sentiment that spills into her real life, half of which is spent in her native France, the rest in Rio. “This is why I like to live in Brazil and, in a way, I would say ‘less-controlled’ environment—because the fact that certain things are less predictable makes me feel that I have to be more awake. It’s almost like something uncomfortable wakes you up, but then it means you’re also more conscious of nice things, you know?”
'That doesn’t mean she enjoys playing some sadistic game of puppet-master. It’s more of an Andy Kaufman-like attempt to wake people up. “At one point, yeah, you feel a bit evil, but then you also know it’s for the beauty of something.”
'This attempt to shake the status quo is why her work frequently references others, whether through appropriation or collaboration, with an audience, or with other artists. (With Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière, she deconstructed and rebuilt the concept of a retail store; she frequently works with the likes of Pierre Huyghe and Rirkrit Tiravanija).
'“I don’t believe in style and identity,” she says, suggesting that what she finds interesting instead is revealing those things that she is made of—the books and films and people and places that she’s encountered all her life. “For me, the whole thing is an endless chain. At one moment, as a person, you are one possible editing of all this material."' -- Heather Corcoran, Flaunt
Stills & installation shots
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster Official Website
DG-F @ 303 Gallery
DG-F @ Esther Schipper Gallery
DG-F @ Anna Sanders Films
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster 'chronotopes & dioramas' @ Dia Foundation
'On DG-F's TH.2058' @ Tate Modern
DG-F's 'Six Rooms for Enrique Vila-Matas'
Podcast: Enrique Vila-Matas and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: Live
Podcast: 'Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: Private view with Adrian Searle'
'Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is taking the town by storm'
'The Multi-Faceted Cinema of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster'
Books by and about DG-F
by Hans Ulrich Obrist
I always felt that routine is the enemy of exhibitions.
DG-F: Yes. There is also something very slow in the art world. People build a stage for a concert in one day; they do more in one day than they do in a gallery space in a year in terms of activity. Of course each system has it’s timing, but once you have been dealing with other speeds it is really hard to go back to this slowness.
That is the great thing of Dave Eggers’ book [You Shall Know Our Velocity] which is about knowing all the velocities. It’s impressive to see a fashion show structure being installed in a museum: it is installed at 6 am, the fashion show takes place during the day and at 6 pm it is already away, in the van!
DGF: In a museum any wall is like a white canvas, so any gesture becomes very important. I am really tired of that!
The number of such expanded field examples in your work increased exponentially. I am thinking not only of the art projects, such as the house in Japan or the parks. We are sitting in the café of the Cité de la Musique where you were involved in a display of a sonic exhibition, “Espace Odyssée.”
DGF: Yes. I am very happy to look at any proposal coming from the most varied fields, where there is a certain program, an idea, some time and a fee. It’s not that I want to be totally subjective and go my own way. On the contrary, I want to interact with all types of questions. There is nothing new in this attitude. In the ’50s for example, there was a spreading of artists’ activities into other disciplines.
This position was also strong in the ’20s, in the Russian avant-garde.
DGF: Yes. The interaction with a diverse range of systems and structures was its radicality. There is something indulgent sometimes in the art world that I want to escape.
Recently somebody told me about the great landscape architect Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster! They didn’t know that you had an artistic background. There are other people who see your films at film festivals and talk about this young filmmaker. Suddenly you are gathering a multitude of identities.
DGF: I don’t want the films to be seen as artist’s films or the garden to be seen as an artist’s garden. I think it is important for artists to develop their role as producers or directors, which means providing a public situation for an audience — an exhibition, a theater piece or a film serve this purpose too. And for that you get a fee.
There’s a recurrent question in my interviews... what is your unrealized project?
DGF: The thing I have been dreaming of for some years is a swimming pool on the beach. This is why I went to Brazil; I wanted to make it there. It would be a kind of ‘tropical university’: a place, a swimming pool, with some umbrellas to create shades. You sit in the water on the beach and discuss your ideas and projects! It has never been realized until now.
What is your next project?
DGF: Writing a science fiction novel together with the artist Philippe Parreno.
11 works in motion
DG-F Shortstory (2009)
DG-F Return to Noreturn (2012)
'"Six months after returning from the Land of Oz, Dorothy Gale has become a melancholic child who cannot sleep, as she is obsessed with her memories of Oz." Gonzalez-Foerster uses this quote of Walter Murch’s 1985-film Return to Oz as a starting point for her solo show "Return to Noreturn" at the gallery. Like Dorothy revisits Oz in her dream, the artist returns to her film Noreturn (2009), which was shot at the exhibition "TH.2085" in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, to decompose and rearrange its content. Various elements that appear in the film, such as a red and green curtain or the yellow and blue bunk beds are presented as separate pieces. The film itself is shown in the second space and marks the end of the exhibition.' -- Esther Schipper Gallery
DG-F Exotourisme Trailer (2012)
'As a result of the prestigious Prix Marcel Duchamp that she received last autumn, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster developed Exotourisme for the Centre Pompidou. It is an installation in which film, music and sound play an important role. The visitor is taken to a specific place in the museum where he sees an enormous screen that has been located in an unusual architectural setting. On the screen, a (video) film is projected that is a cross between a fragment from a science-fiction film from the early 1960s, a liquid wheel and an LSD trip.' -- Rotterdam Film Festival
DG-F T. 1912 (2011)
'The sinking of the Titanic on April 14, 1912, has continued to move and fascinate for generations. Artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster created a site-specific staged audience experience in the Guggenheim Museum's rotunda, inspired by this historic event and wherein the audience played a role. Gavin Bryars's The Sinking of the Titanic was be at the core of the installation, performed by The Wordless Music Orchestra.' -- The Guggenheim
DG-F & Ange Leccia Des Film à Faire (2008)
'Short film from a series of works by various artists under the rubric Stories on Human Rights.' -- artfortheworld001
DG-F Atomic Park (2004)
'Atomic Park, made by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster in 2004, begins in blown out color before snapping to grainy monochrome as it tracks a car entering White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, home to the Trinity nuclear test site. From a distance we watch a family share a picnic and play in the sand dunes. The surveillance video quality of the footage and our knowledge of the park’s history would be enough to inject menace into the vacation scene before us, but Gonzalez-Foerster does not stop there. Bubbling to the surface of the soundtrack are snatches of dialogue from The Misfits, Marilyn Monroe’s cry “MURDERERS” bringing Atomic Park from disquiet observation to outright indictment.' -- Union Docs
DG-F and Ari Benjamin Meyers T.451 (2012)
'This is a small part of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Ari Benjamin Meyers performance T.451 which took place in Stockholm at the 27th of May 2012 and was captured on film by me, an audience member. The performance was inspired by François Truffaut's film Fahrenheit 451 from 1966 and its original music score by Bernard Herrmann. The movie was in turn based upon Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel of 1953 with the same title. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper spontaneously ignites. The "T" in T.451 may account for Tensta, which is a suburb of Stockholm where the performance took place, but perhaps also for "Text".' -- Olle Sellfors
DG-F from Parc Central (2008)
'A collection of 11 short poetic psycho-geographic portraits of cities and spaces from artist Dominique Gonzelez-Foerster. This collection of films from cities across the globe provides further evidence of Gonzalez-Foerster's unmistakable sense of urban ambience and tropical melancholia. In a conversation between the artist and Jacques Ranciere published in Art Press, the philosopher, reflecting on the dialogue between East and West in her work, observes, "What is interesting is what they over there have done with what they borrowed from us here. You don't get that here, maybe because we have the idea that there are no more journeys left." That may be the case, but after seeing Gonzalez-Foerster's films I want to go places: Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Taipei, and of course Japan, though I'm not sure if her Japan really exists or whether it's a semiotic fantasy after Roland Barthes.' -- Daniel Birnbaum, Artforum
p.s. Hey. ** Armando, Hi, Armando. Yes, I read about that anniversary yesterday, and there seemed to be a lot of people marking the occasion by paying tribute to her, so I think your hope is being realized, which is obviously a very good thing. ** Grant Scicluna, Hey. Oh, Vegas is such a singular place, unlike anywhere else in the world, hideous and amazing, an extravagant, crystalline example of humankind's peculiar notions of pleasure and utopia, and, for that reason, I think it's a place that's very good to experience, in a small dose, at least. I wonder what I would think of 'Salo' if I wasn't so attached to the novel. I really don't know. I'm sure I would like it more, but I'm strangely not a Pasolini fan in general. I respect his work, and I can see why it's important, but it has never spoken to me. Strange, I know. So thrilled that you think so highly of 'A Man Escaped', of course. That makes my heart more heart-like. Yeah, I can imagine that 'Mala Noche' hasn't stood up incredibly well, and also that it remains charming. I haven't seen or talked to Gus in years now, but we were quite friendly, and I think we would still be quite friendly if our orbits intersected, which they undoubtedly will. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Arguing with the liquored-up is a dodgy prospect, true. It can be interesting, though. All that loosened up internal world stuff of theirs to fish around in and work with or something. I just looked up the origin of the word dork, and the word originated as a term that refers to a blue whale's penis. How it transformed into the term we use today seems to be a mystery. ** Scunnard, Yeah, chuffed sometimes leaps into my vocabulary, and I have no idea why. It's kind of a nice sounding word that doesn't sound like it would mean happy. That might be it. Something pulled together would be way sweet, buddy. All is well here, and there? ** Wolf, Wolf! I've been wondering where and how you are. And now you're here, and I am very happy. Very chuffed. 2 or 3 giant, life-changing decisions at the same time? Wow, I don't know. Like ... 1 decision that has 3 parts that have to fit together properly or something? I can add my intuition or pragmatism or whatever to the dilemma if you want to tell me more, and if a caring outsider's take would help. I would so totally love to see you in Paris. Those intended dates are tricky 'cos I'll be away from Paris from the 8th to the 11th. Grr. Are your dates flexible? Mine aren't, unfortunately. Can we make this happen? Please say yes. I'll be around here except for those four days. We got soggy snow, a couple of hours of it, but it died on impact with the earth. Hardly counts. No, totally, the Moon Hotel is The One. That it never existed is a crime worthy of a Hague trial. Buddy, I'm so thrilled to see you! ** Billy Lloyd, Sad love story. When I was 16, I was in love with this boy who was a vegetarian, and I became a vegetarian to impress him, and, literally, the day after I became a vegetarian, he went back to eating meat again, and I stayed vegetarian defiantly so he wouldn't think I was pathetic, and I'm still a vegetarian, so I guess that's kind of some weird version of undying love or something. I'm too laid-back and LA to play games with people who really, really want to win. It always freaks me out, and I always just end up quitting. So, maybe I'll just watch you play sometime if I ever get the chance. The advice you gave to the twins is definitely the kind that will sink in slowly over time. I bet it'll be their Bible or something. That does sound like an interesting new song. I'm very interested in that combination of types of people in my work, so, yeah, I'm very curious to see how that turns out. Could be amazing. ** Cobaltfram, Very happy to have made your day. Yury's launch is in very early March, I think. A related blog post, sure, I think I can do that. Yikes! That song/vid you linked me to is quite a song/vid. Can't imagine you'll have too much trouble getting middle schoolers on board. Working on the genre novel is a good in-between project occupation even though it's not really in-between, I guess. Be as patient as you can re: NYC news. This phase of careerdom can feel very, very, very slow. ** David Ehrenstein, Danny is a higher up guy at a record company, and, one of the bands he was in -- the great Three O'Clock -- is reuniting to play Coachella this year, so I think he's doing good. I don't think anyone has ever been 'all over me', but it's a nice thought. ** Tosh, See what I told you about my 'never built' fetish? Even Downtown Vegas doesn't have much seedy in it anymore, or not when I was last there ten years or so ago. Still can't believe they closed the Liberace Museum. Have a slight hope that the Soderbergh HBO biopic might give it a second life somewhere. ** 5STRINGS, I'm always afraid that I'm going to cry when I hear my voice too. I'm not buff. Sturdy, maybe. Seems like we shouldn't talk about DFW anymore, so let's not. What did you have done to your hair? Installation art does 'new' like nobody's business sometimes. It's in interesting effect, kind of logical, I guess. ** Bill, I agree about the Star Trek hotel. I don't see how it could have failed, actually. Yes, Het Illuseum, that's it. I totally spaced out. Thank you! And the Vrolik, that's a good one too, thanks again! I'm going up there on Friday, coming back on Sunday night. What did desperation give you? Luckily, desperation can be the font of genius given the proper aligning of certain biological stars. ** Alan, Hi, Alan. ** Rewritedept, Hi. Leaky bong, suckage, sorry. And about your jeans. I only have two pairs of jeans too. Well, three if you count the really holey ones that are hard to pull off wearing with any style. Ah, so you're anti-crazy big hotels. That's interesting. I wish they had all been built, but that's easy for me to say in Paris. The Amsterdam trip is completely for pleasure. Never been to Reno. Can't even picture what it looks like. I guess that imagine a pint-sized Vegas with less high end, moneyed up hotels. ** Empty Frame, Hey, man! Good to see you, pal. Those drawings sound very awesome, of course. Glad to hear that you're doing the wise spending of your time thing. 'How's My Drinking'! Your day was set! ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T! Sorry about he heavy shit with the kids at school. Life is so fucking unfair so often to kids. Guest posts, dude, thank you so kindly. I hope you got some good sleep, and that things have settled down in some way today. ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff. Glad you're with me on the might-have-been of Vegas. What are the freelance jobs? Hard to say? I know both of those French publishers by name, but I don't have an immediate impression of them. Do you want me to check around about them? No problem if you do. You know, I can't even think of the last film I saw. I seem to be completely out of the habit lately. I don't know why. What have you seen and especially liked? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I always found Artschwager's work hard to feel passionate about, but I did quite like some of his things, and I always admired how singular and on his own track he was. Great about you scoring the trip to see the Mike Kelley! I can give you my thoughts and report early next week, if you like. Sure, I would be totally into doing that conversation for YnY. I would be honored. Thank you wanting and asking. ** Paradigm, Hi, Scott. I agree with you about architecture, I think. Yeah, I do. Oh, so 'weed' is a much more general term than I had thought, but that makes total sense. The backstories sound really fascinating. It really does sound like a rich area to do work in and around. Yeah, obviously, I guess, let it take the form it will take. It's good you have a clear preconception, though. Allowing content-driven mutations is one of the excitements of writing. I hope so re: my novel. I am having a hard time shaking off the feeling that the novel, as written so far, is all wrong and a failure. I think it will or would need major work, and I have to decide if I can find a way to salvage and transform it. Hard to tell right now. Not a great time, writing-wise. Thank you so much about the Day! And please have a great, great one. ** Sypha, The Moon one is my number one. Good, hopefully the post and reaction will have some kind of curative powers. I can't imagine that they won't. ** Steevee, Basically the same here in France re: the coverage of the Pope's resignation, although with maybe more noting of the strange lack of noting of his Hitler Youth past. ** Chris Dankland, Hi, Chris! I know, the Moon one, holy shit! Want. You should definitely check out Vegas for real at some point. It's like this insane experimental Outsider Artwork. Kind of a must at least once in a lifetime. I got the post you sent me! Thank you so, so much! It's superb, and I got it set up while I was coffeeing this morning, and it'll pop up here on Wednesday, the 20th. You rule, man, and thank you again so very much! Excellent day to you and yours! ** Un Cœur Blanc, Hi! No, I haven't gotten it yet, but, as I think I've said before, the US-to-France mailing time is very unpredictable. I'll let you know when I do, and thank you kindly, my friend. Saki sounds like a lovely weapon against blizzard. Or a great friend for a blizzard maybe. Hm, let me think about your question re: the sea. I can't think of anyone at this second, but I'm sure I can with further thought. Love, me. ** Okay. My galerie houses a show by the super interesting artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, and, if you don't know her work, I hope that by the time you've explored the show, you'll feel like your attention span was successfully targeted. See you tomorrow.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:06 AM