Belgrade Serbia – it's a city that's been torn apart by history several times in the last 100 years. It's also host to the annual October Salon, which this year, it's 55th, included artists like Simon Denny and Liam Gillick as well as others from Belgrade making work that referenced history, the past and its ever-present present. Curated by Nicholaus Schafhausen and Vanessa Joan Müller, the exhibition was called "Disappearing Things." For the catalogue, I wrote "The Geometry of a Hole" about pataphysics, ghosts, technology, holes, Snapchat and history and how history tore holes – some literal others less so – in the work in the show as well as the exhibition space itself.
"What color do you see thinking of safety and sleep? Comfort or peace? I’ve been told they’re blue, so too is communication, the sky, water, the mind, trustworthiness and cops – as if police embodied trustworthiness. I believe none of it. Or, maybe all of it, as if it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I don’t think any of it is true." These were the questions I pondered for the Kunsthalle Wien for their show on Blue. Specifically I wanted to figure out why the predominant color of all the icons in my Mac's dock are blue... You can read more of the essay here.
"For me, it's about reading the city in terms of its absences, but it's also about capturing a sense of fragility and political negligence, and questioning literature's role in all that. ... Of course, all cities are palimpsests—one can read into the layers of their histories—but many cities also do a very good job of wiping out their past." This is one of Valeria Luiselli's responses when I interviewed her for BOMB.
This summer for the contemporary art museum Arnolfini in Bristol UK, I wrote an essay-as-ghost-story as a new commision for their show The Promise. Haunted by Sarah Ann Henley, the only women to survive the 250-foot jump from Bristol's famous suspension bridge (a Victorian engineering miracle by Isambard Kindom Brunel), the essay ties together Bristol, Brutalism, slavery, patchs of gum, traffic bollards, three virgin sisters and the story of lead shot, made by falling precipitously from a tower. It starts here:
"Look up. A woman tumbles from the sky. The mud on the River Avon glistens silver in the light at low tide. Her skirts billow around her like a parachute as she spins over and over. Time, life, love is suspended as her fall slows, and she wonders what she is doing here, as she panics, as she hits the mud. The drop is more than 75 meters. She lives. She has hurled herself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge and over the next hundred years becomes one of only four to survive. Two of that number are children. They plummet over the side together a decade later."
Here's a link to the pdf.
And it includes images by Kate Newby including this, which I love...
In May for the opening of the Isa Genzken show at the Kunsthalle Wien, I gave the opening lecture, one that pulls together everything from the Lenape tribe in New York City to the Bauhaus, Mies, a ghost office park in Paris and ghosts of the city and what the city should be, not to mention skating on Wall Street at 3 am and the buildings I have crushes on. They all became a way to talk about Isa Genzken's work.