Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hands & Feet, Standing & Falling

In the installation by Douglas Gordon at SFMoMa, Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now. To be seen on monitors, some with headphones, others run silently, and all simultaneously, there is a video of a hand, palm forward, abruptly coming at the camera, again and again. There are a lot of hands in Gordon's works, but this one reminded me directly of Bruce Nauman's piece of himself bouncing into a corner. I saw that one installed in the basement of the Berlin contemporary art museum Hamburger Bahnhof as part of the Flick Collection. [see photos above] Nauman falls back into a corner and bounces back upright and then into the corner again; again and again. Gordon is obviously, probably, most likely—why not—influenced by Nauman's early work, straightforward videos documenting performance. Maybe it doesn't matter if he were influenced or not, but more to the point they are in the same conversation of repetitive movement, the body, the gesture, on film. They could be in the same room, falling and bouncing and turning and gesturing, simultaneously together as they are in my head.

In the Bahnhof basement there was also Nauman's video of himself slathering himself black. Remember Gordon's piece, The right hand doesn't care what the left hand isn't doing? His hands are lathered in shaving cream and one hand shaves the other.

Displayed side by side, Nauman's films showed the continuity of the artist's body as work in much the same way as this installation of some 50 of Gordon's works in one dark room wove together, reflected and conversed together, a new whole that is the artist's body of work, work using body, movement, expression. I wonder if he was surprised, looking over these individual pieces done over the last 15 years, to see how repetition in one reflected the same movement in another? How they danced so well together, the shell-shocked man falling, the elephant falling, the hands gesturing, the hands and eyes opening, closing? It was beautifully choreographed as though on purpose which just goes to show the purposefulness of a person's being, of an artist's perspective, that streams through her life-work, the hidden intention.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sausages and Ale

So what is it about sausages?

There are 300 sausages suspended (with sheep, shark and cow) in Damien Hirst's new installation, School: The Archaeology of Lost Desires, Comprehending Infinity, and the Search for Knowledge, created for the lobby of Lever House, NYC. Meat, ground and encased, then encased yet again in formadehyde and glass.

At the Moscow Biennale this year, the Blue Noses Group showed Kitchen Suprematism, sliced salami and bread arranged into abstract compositions on a kitchen counter.

Did it all begin with Wurstserie, the 1979 Sausage Series of photographs by Peter Fischli and David Weiss? Sausages dressed up in slices of deli meats - bacon and mortadella clothing and carpets and cups: a sausage world?

Wolfgang Tillmans photographed sausages in a pot. He also photographed man meat in hand - the ol' blood sausage, turkey neck, wiener, salami, boner, sausage. So there it is: that's what it is about sausage...

Sausage takes the cake.