Lothringer Studio, Lothringer Str. 13, 81667 München
As some of you know, I have been speaking about setting up a reading group for some time. This was supposed to take place on Mondays and the idea was you would read but not socialise, ie. not drink. It is why I started writing “Sad Mondays” for Porcile, which essentially was such a one-person book club. Well, I am trying again this time on Tuesday, and I am going to call it “Sad Tuesday” – hah! – because I am so inventive.
We will be reading texts loosely relating to Paul Valentin’s exhibition. The first are as follows:
1. Heidegger’s “Origin of the Work of Art” (we need to split this up into 2 sessions I think)
2. Meyer Schapiro “The Still Life as a Personal Object – a Note on Heidegger and Van Gogh.
3. Jacques Derrida “Restitutions of the Truth in Pointing”
The first session will take place on Tuesday, the 2nd of May at 6 pm, at the Lothringer Studio upstairs. I suspect it will last an hour or so. Hope to see some of you there! If you would like a copy of the text, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another studio visit and resulting exhibition text:
I owe you the truth in painting and I will give it to you
…d’un seul pas franchi…
The small problem of truth has been occupying me recently: the truth in painting, as promised by another “sauvage raffiné,” Paul Cézanne. A long time ago, it took a painting by Vincent van Gogh, Old Shoes with Laces (1886), for the German philosopher Martin Heidegger to recognise what this truth might be and for him, the artwork became defined through its revelation of this truth. We now consider ourselves too sophisticated to think that a painting of some worn-out shoes reveals something so profound about the peasant woman’s being that there is no other way this can be grasped. And yet a little of this heideggerian desire remains. I find we still look for truth in painting despite thinking it unlikely. Or at least, I do.
At the height of the pandemic Stefanie Ullmann would walk and run in the rose gardens at the Isar, in May, when the magnolias are in bloom. These caught her attention – I remember how bright that spring was, and how vibrant the greens. But again it took a painting by van Gogh, this time, Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass (1888) for her to begin painting from memory a series of small canvases with flowers. A second series of watercolours followed. The oil paintings share van Goghs’ shimmering green-yellow palette as well as his strong horizontal and vertical lines.
When I look at these paintings I find myself standing in Heidegger’s shoes. There is a truth in Stefanie Ullmann’s work that has to do with his schematic definition. On the one hand he claims, art has long been thought as formed matter, in other words as a “Zeug,” translated by Derrida as a “product,” more commonly in English translations of Heidegger’s essay as “equipment.” And these paintings here, especially the abstract ones, have this workman-like quality of being built, almost brick by brick, layer by layer. Occasionally Stefanie Ullmann even uses a spatula like a masonry trowel. And yet, as Derrida in his interpretation of Heidegger’s argument rightly notes, an artwork is more than a product or Zeug because it does what no other product can – it resembles a thing, “Ding.” It is as if it were not produced. Thus, an artwork is a product that is also more than a product, because it crosses over, steps into the realm of the thing. In the same way, Ullmann’s paintings enjoy this self-sufficiency. Despite their lightness, they feel as sturdy as earth or rock or tree, untouched by human hand.
The point of painting is – for Van Gogh, Heidegger, Derrida etc. – that this step crossing from thing to product and back again occurs within. Painting shows how tightly things, Zeug and artworks interlace.
What is the truth?1 Now there is a metaphysical question for you. Hardcore baby, yeah. That’s what we are talking about. What. Is. The. Truth. Heidegger turns around and points, there – there – to the temple, a Greek one I guess but no one really knows, or cares, as it really doesn’t matter; he points to the temple nestling among rocky hills, its columns in picturesque disarray. We can see it on Paul Valentin’s holiday snapshot. The temple as a work of art sets forth the truth. If you are looking for the truth you can find it there.
When I first encountered Heidegger’s essay as an undergraduate, “The Origin of the Work of Art” was presented to me as a critique of representation, specifically of mimesis. I admit I didn’t get it at the time. Now that I do, Heidegger does clearly state that the kind of truth he associates with the artwork has nothing to do with a painter’s capacity to produce resemblance. Truth here is not marked by the distinction between the model and the copy, the original and the fake, and in this sense his argument is anti-mimetic. Instead, he looks to the point of origin of the art work, and finds truth (with the help of van Gogh’s painting) in the way being is revealed. “Aletheia”, he claims, is the Greek term for the “unconcealedness of beings.”
This means we do not look at an artwork in a habitual way, as a thing or a piece of equipment. Heidegger rejects the interpretation of the artwork as either a substrate bearing traits, a manifold of sensations or as formed matter. These for him are various forms of assault on being. He argues that not to fall under the spell of this violence, we have to look at the temple and see how it both creates a world for us, in the sense of giving our lives its meaning, and also shelters this world by placing it back firmly on the earth, which only through the creation of this world emerges as ground. The temple as the work of art is Aletheia.
Paul Valentin creates his temple of of the Greek goddess Aletheia using digital software. It has the usual pediments and carved reliefs of mythological figures. He then, also digitally, breaks this temple up, fragments it, ages it artificially and destroys it. He takes up these fragments – still digitally – and reassembles them in workshop that shares many of the same visual conditions as the Lothringer 13 Studio space, like some kind of virtual archeologist. The reassembled fragments are photographed, printed and scattered across gallery room.
Thus there is no truth in Paul Valentin’s temple. Even the snapshot we see is a composite of an old photograph and an ai generated image, with some photoshopping in between. His temple does not, cannot, reveal anything. It is not even there. And yet it shows how mimesis is always at work, even in Heidegger’s argument. How does Heidegger reject the three modes in which we tend to think the artwork? By looking at how their claim to truth compares with the artwork’s truth, its revelation of being. Isn’t this also what mimesis is? I mean, isn’t the relation between a model and a copy not so much about resemblance as it is about good and bad resemblance – to what extent is the copy a faithful one? Isn’t it the copy’s claim to truth that we compare? Far then from producing a critique of representation, Heidegger’s comparison of different modes of thought would seem to fall down mimesis’s slippery slope. He too succumbs to its power. What is the truth? There is no truth, honey. Only simulacra. Paul Valentin shows that the question we need to ask is how does this simulacra work.
For full effect, please read in the voice of Tom Cruise’s character in Magnolia (1999). If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it now.
GiG Munich is really happy to continue working with Lothringer 13 again this year, and will begin the new series of exhibitions – Thought in Practice – at the Studio space with the exhibition “Doxa,” by Paul Valentin. The series aims to bring together different artists, who share a strong interest in philosophical concepts and who make these concepts the focus of their artistic practice.
Paul Valentin’s work has long dealt with the questions of metaphysics, such as the concept of truth, nothingness, or the structure of reality. Similarly in this Lothringer exhibition, “doxa” refers to the Ancient Greek definition of opinion, opposed to the much more serious and worthy “epitome” or knowledge. The exhibition consists of digitally-constructed fictional temple of Aletheia – the Goddess of truth in Greek mythology. Its fragments are not the 3-D artefacts found by archeological teams on a remote site, but the flat illusions, created, artificially aged and distressed by the artist using computer software. In this work Valentin presents truth as something that is always made: fragments of a temple that first had to be constructed before being destroyed.
Paul Valentin is a German artist currently based in Munich, working primarily with video and animation but also occasionally with music, digital relief and sculpture. His work has been presented at the European Media Art Festival, Haus der Kunst, Museum Villa Rot, Centro Cultural Moçambique, Sluice Biennale London and Exchange Rates Festival in New York. He was awarded the Karl & Faber Prize in 2019, as well as the Academy Association Prize that year and the Scholarship for fine arts by the City of Munich in 2021.
GiG Munich setzt auch in diesem Jahr die Zusammenarbeit mit der Lothringer 13 Halle fort. Die neue Ausstellungsreihe “Thought in Practice” startet mit der Ausstellung “Doxa” von Paul Valentin. Ziel der Reihe ist es, verschiedene Künstler:innen zusammenzubringen, die ein starkes Interesse an philosophischen Konzepten haben und diese in den Mittelpunkt ihrer künstlerischen Praxis stellen.
Paul Valentin beschäftigt sich in seinem Werk seit langem mit Fragen der Metaphysik, wie dem Begriff der Wahrheit, dem Nichts oder der Struktur der Wirklichkeit. Entsprechend bezieht sich “Doxa” auf die altgriechische Definition von Meinung in Abgrenzung zu dem viel ernsthafteren und würdigeren “Episteme” oder Wissen. Die Ausstellung besteht aus einem digital konstruierten fiktiven Tempel der Aletheia – der Göttin der Wahrheit in der griechischen Mythologie. Bei den Fragmenten handelt es sich nicht um 3-D-Artefakte, die von archäologischen Teams an einem abgelegenen Ort gefunden wurden, sondern um flache Illusionen, die der Künstler mit Hilfe von Computersoftware geschaffen, künstlich gealtert und verunstaltet hat. In diesem Werk stellt Valentin die Wahrheit als etwas dar, das immer hergestellt wird: Fragmente eines Tempels, der erst gebaut werden musste, bevor er zerstört wurde.
Paul Valentin lebt derzeit in München und arbeitet hauptsächlich mit Video und Animation, gelegentlich aber auch mit Musik, digitalen Reliefen und Skulpturen. Seine Arbeiten wurden auf dem European Media Art Festival, im Haus der Kunst, im Museum Villa Rot, im Centro Cultural Moçambique, auf der Sluice Biennale London und auf dem Exchange Rates Festival in New York präsentiert. Er wurde 2019 mit dem Karl & Faber-Preis ausgezeichnet, ebenso wie mit dem Preis des Akademievereins im selben Jahr und dem Stipendium für Bildende Kunst der Stadt München im Jahr 2021.
Lothringer 13 Studio, Lothringer Str. 13, 81667 München
TALK: Stephen Zepke with Magdalena Wisniowska on Zoom, 29.12.2022
FINISSAGE: Friday, 30.12.2022, 5-8pm
GiG Munich is happy to be hosting Stephen Zepke on Zoom on the 29th of December at 7pm. Stephen Zepke is a philosopher and independent researcher, teaching Philosophy at the University of Vienna, Austria. He has published numerous essays on philosophy, art and cinema. He is the author of Art as Abstract Machine: Ontology and Aesthetics in Deleuze and Guattari (Routledge, 2005) and the co-editor of two books: Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of New (Continuum, 2008) and Deleuze and Contemporary Art (Edinburgh University Press, 2010). His research interests are: contemporary aesthetics and (bio)political theory.
During the meeting we will be discussing the current exhibition and the concepts of virtuality associated with it. The meeting is open to all: please contact me for the details.
Lothringer 13 Studio, Lothringer Str. 13, 81667 München
I have long, straight hair, slightly dry at the ends, too seldom cut. When I read or write, I tuck the loose strands behind my ear. It is always present, over there, too much to count yet infinitely countable. Oddly, I think of hair when I read Brian Massumi’s definition of the virtual (“Envisioning the Virtual” in The Oxford handbook of Virtuality, 55-70), and not only because of his arguments about value (because you are worth it!). For he opposes the virtual to the actual, rather than the natural or the real, and explains through Whitehead’s opposition of the sensuous and non-sensuous. Hair is sensuous because it exists over there, ready to be counted. There is a reference to space – counting unfolds in time. But hair is also virtual I guess, because it also appears to perception all at once: I do not have to pick a strand and start counting. Hair is there in one fell swoop, or rather swoosh. I already have a rough idea of a number – through habit, previous knowledge and earlier, other experiences. But as soon as I try to locate and fix this dimension – to grasp it in my hand – this virtual aspect disappears into the actual. Massumi describes the non-sensuous as having “a strangely compelling, shimmering sterility” (60) and this makes me think of the hair in this exhibition, Electric bodies shooting through space, silky white curtains on which the video work, Her do, shimmers.
In her work, Janna Jirkova plays with the natural and the artificial. Natural are our bodies: nails, mouth, belly, hair; artificial is the technology, both high and low tech, she attaches to her body in cyborg-like fashion. The electric bodies shooting through space are us, joggers wearing headlights in the dark, Major Tom floating in a tin can. But it is not that technology functions as some sort of extension of our body and its capacities, rather, Jirkova shows how our bodies are already artificial (and by extension, the artificial is already also natural). “Self-prosthetic” is Massumi’s term (64).
The English labels Jirkova reads out in her video, “pretty package… high performance …. the type I like” – but also negatively, “broken … malfunctioning” – are ways to describe both: the human body and technology, the natural and the artificial tangled together in language. On the shimmering screen, we see purple hair being used to tickle a belly, except that the hair is another video projection and the belly, a plaster cast. Again, she touches her navel, but this is on a mobile phone screen, forward facing, in a pouch of a rubber apron, worn over a white protective suit. “Samson, Samson, show me your hair!” Her hair, the hair of the empress Elisabeth. There is body hair shown as a video of a fern unfurling, and the abstract red and pinks are made by placing fingers over the recording device. Jirkova sets out to produce a field of tensions between different modes of existence, actual and virtual. These are tensions that come with the contrast between the sensuous and the non-sensuous. As Massumi argues, modes do not add up to anything – they do not form anything. Experience emerges when the pressure becomes unsustainable and these tensions break (62).
Through this intensive force field all of our experience is conditioned. What we bring to the conditional field phenomenon is our tendencies, in which they are a formative factor. Only these tendencies can be either natural, in the sense of a genetic predisposition or artificial, as in learnt. For Massumi, art and technology merely extend the body’s pre-existing regime of natural and acquired artifice, “already long in active duty in producing the virtual reality of our everyday lives” (64). We are caught between our tendencies in an intensive force field of emergence, indeed like “motes,” “caught up in a tumult of non-Newtonian motion” (Beckett, Murphy, Chapter 6).
Lothringer 13 Studio, Lothringer Str. 13, 81667 München
GiG Munich is happy to announce that the third of the exhibitions series ‘Re-collection’ at open on the 25th of November at Lothringer 13 Studio, ‘Electric bodies shooting through space’ featuring the work of Janna Jirkova. Save the date and hope to see you there!
The strange elements of Janna Jirkova’s latest video work Her Do, are some of the most physical and tactile parts of our bodies: our hair, nails and belly. They are always over there, here, hair ready to be fiddled with, or stroked or smelled – a belly button to kiss or to tickle. Nails to be bitten. I pull out a hair out of my mouth. But in her video we see them projected or on a mobile phone screen, as a plaster cast or an unfurling fern leaf. They are real and yet not real, direct and mediated. They are no longer over there, filling our space, ready to be touched, but appear, as it by themselves, a result of a tension between what is sensuous and what is not sensuous that for Brian Massumi constitutes virtuality.
Janna Jirkova, * 1991 in Munich, studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich from 2012 till 2019 as a student of Olaf Nicolai. She is the recipient of several grants, including the Erwin and Gisela von Steiner foundation project grant and the young art/ new media project grant of the city of Munich in 2021. In 2022 she received funding from Stiftung Kunstfonds. Her most recent exhibitions include the group exhibition Limonare at Orangerie München (2021) Titanen, Drachen Eisberg, at Halle 50 at DomagkAteliers (2021), Going Nowhere at Cafe Cosmos (2022) and the Debutanten presentation at Galerie der Künstler*Innen, combined with a catalogue release.
Lothringer 13 Studio,Lothringer Str. 13, 81667 München
Last night I tried to think of the first animal I can remember. My grandmother’s black, shaggy dog perhaps? Or earlier, as my mother would say, the jellyfish that stung me on my wrist. I was only two then. Or earlier still I remember the fish on the beach I would make out of the warm sand. But maybe I am thinking about this wrong, maybe it is not about the actual animals I might or might not remember, but rather that all memories belong to the animal kingdom. Maybe memories are like animals.
First of all, there are the individual memories of different things that happened to us, personal memories like family pets, domesticated. Zuza Piekoszewska shows a small landscape of fields in the early morning mist as described to her by her parents. Elsewhere she remakes a kind of very specific dish cloth her mother used in mid-90s Poland, pastel, striped, homely. Julia Klemm’s lions do not prowl but play around the rubble like kittens. The lions though are a different type of memory. They belong not just to us, but to our culture, much like in the taxonomist’s biological classification, a species belongs to a genus. These animals are ordered along evolutionary lines, significant events of our shared past marking out a historical trajectory. These lions that Julia Klemm gathers, derives from 3D scans of bronze and stone lions dotted around European capitals, traditional symbols of strength, courage and nobility in our Judeo-Christian tradition.
Finally there are the memories of the pack, memories like the swarm of cicadas that emerge all together and so suddenly, after 17 years of underground sleep. History has no place for such memories; this kind of animal is missing from the taxonomist’s classification systems. It is less about individuals, identification and contextualisation and more about how to think the animal as already a population. Memories are never single – there is never the one lion. An animal before it is this or that animal, my animal, yours and ours, is an animal like another, but also different. I mean lions as the same but also as mutants, the repetition of genetic material always harbouring mutation. These memories of the pack are always unknowingly carried with us. I am a product of memories I do not even remember; we are a multiplicity of memories that history cannot contain. The most interesting things happen in between the lines, in shared proximities where the discernibility of points disappears. As Deleuze and Guattari write,
The line-system … of becoming is opposed to the point-system of memory. Becoming is the movement by which the line frees itself from the point, and renders points indiscernible…(Thousand Plateaus, 294)
Here becoming is an anti-memory. To really learn how to remember animals, we must first forget.
Lothringer 13Studio, Lothringer Str. 13, 81667 München
When I try to recall something or other, I do not immediately think of animals, though perhaps I should. I think of things that happened and other things that happened before that: points on an ever distant timeline. A line of evolution, of successful pairings, of inherited traits. But what about all those other things I don’t remember? Unclear, awkward pairings, stolen encounters in the night? Different species, no offspring, yet also a closeness and an intimacy.
Animals on my mind is the second of GiG Munich’s ‘Re-collection’ series of exhibitions at Lothringer 13 Studio, featuring the work of Julia Klemm and Zuza Piekoszewska, in collaboration with Lectwo, Poland.
Julia Klemm (*1983 in Backnang) lives and works in Munich. 2010 she began her art studies at the AdBK Munich with Prof. Norbert Prangenberg and graduated 2017 as a master student with Markus Karstieß. In 2018 she received a scholarship from the Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture, Science and Art for a six-month stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. She has exhibited in Munich, Cologne, Düsseldorf and internationally, in New Jersey, Rome and Beirut. Klemm is represented in the collection of contemporary art of the Federal Republic of Germany and is currently participating in a group exhibition in the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn in 2022.
Zuza Piekoszewska (*1996) completed an BFA in Photography at the University of the Arts Poznan and a MFA in Fine Art Media in the Szczecin Art Academy. At Łęctwo Poznań she had solo exhibitions ‘You are a little soul carrying about a corpse’ in 2020, and ‘Ready to hatch’ in 2019. Her recent group exhibitions include ‘The Discomfort of Evening’, Zachęta, Warsaw, 2022, ‘Material fatigue’ at the 17th International Triennial of Tapestry in Łódź, 2022,‘We breathe the remains of everything that was’ organised by GiG Munich and Łęctwo at Lothringer 13 Studio, Munich, 2022, ’The earth is flat again’ at the Museum of Art in Łódź, 2021 and ‘Lebenswelt’ at the Bovisamare Via Mercantini, Milan, 2021.
Animals on my mind
Wenn ich versuche, mich an etwas zu erinnern, denke ich nicht sofort an Tiere, obwohl ich das vielleicht sollte. Ich denke an Dinge, die passiert sind, und andere Dinge, die davor passiert sind: Punkte auf einer immer weiter entfernten Zeitlinie. Eine Linie der Evolution, der erfolgreichen Paarungen, der vererbten Eigenschaften. Aber was ist mit all den anderen Dingen, an die ich mich nicht erinnere? Unklare, ungeschickte Paarungen, gestohlene Begegnungen in der Nacht? Verschiedene Spezies, keine Nachkommen, aber auch eine Nähe und Intimität.
Animals on my mind ist die zweite Ausstellung der Reihe “Re-collection” von GiG Munich im Lothringer 13 Studio, in der die Arbeiten von Julia Klemm und Zuza Piekoszewska gezeigt werden.
Julia Klemm (*1983 in Backnang) lebt und arbeitet in München. Sie beginnt 2010 ihr Kunststudium an der AdBK München bei Prof. Norbert Prangenberg und macht 2017 als Meisterschülerin bei Markus Karstieß ihren Abschluss. 2018 erhält sie ein Stipendium des Bayerischen Staatsministeriums für Bildung und Kultur, Wissenschaft und Kunst für einen sechsmonatigen Aufenthalt an der Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Sie stellte bisher in München, Köln, Düsseldorf sowie international u. a. in New Jersey, Rom und Beirut aus.Klemm ist in der Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschlandvertreten und 2022 an einer Gruppenausstellung in der Bundeskunsthalle Bonn beteiligt.
Zuza Piekoszewska (*1996) absolvierte einen BFA in Fotografie an der Universität der Künste Poznan und einen MFA in Fine Art Media an der Kunstakademie Szczecin. Im Łęctwo Poznań hatte sie die Einzelausstellungen “You are a little soul carrying about a corpse” im Jahr 2020 und “Ready to hatch” im Jahr 2019. Zu ihren jüngsten Gruppenausstellungen gehören “The Discomfort of Evening”, Zachęta, Warschau, 2022, “Material fatigue” auf der 17. Internationalen Triennale der Tapisserie in Łódź, 2022,“Wir atmen die Reste von allem, was war”, organisiert von GiG Munich und Łęctwo im Studio Lothringer 13, München, 2022, “Die Erde ist wieder flach” im Kunstmuseum in Łódź, 2021 und “Lebenswelt” im Bovisamare Via Mercantini, Mailand, 2021.
As part of Various Others and in collaboration with Temporary Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art, Cologne
Milchstr. 4, 81667 Munich
09.09.2022 – 29.09.2022
There is a call. In the light, in the dark, it doesn’t matter. I stop and look around. I see the caller and I answer. I answer because I know that the caller is calling me. The person they are calling is the same person I am. I identify myself in their call. I understand and I respond appropriately. And in doing so I confirm that the identity they have given me is the right one. But there is another call, one that for Deleuze and Guattari opens a different, passional regime: someone calls, but this is not me. They call someone else. I still stop and look around but I do not identify myself with the person being called and I feel … I do not know exactly, but Deleuze and Guattari would say, betrayed. Oh, how I would like to be the one who is being called! Providing there is a fascination with the caller, I want to identify this unknown person, I desire this betrayal. This too is a powerful bond.
Then there is the third call that Deleuze and Guattari do not write about. Someone calls and this call is meant for me, but I do not answer because it seems too obvious, almost too stupid. They cannot be really calling me, or are they? Are they really, now?
All three ways of calling are apparent in the work of Hannes Heinrich’s and Buket Isgören. There is a moment of recognition: this, there, is a depiction of a flower. It is rendered in such a way I recognise it as such. There is also a moment of betrayal, especially apparent in Heinrich’s work, when he rubs charcoal across the object he covers with canvas, desiring a closeness that the object does not give. Isgören too painstakingly colours in her leaves and petals. And then there is the call that is too much; it is too direct: flower, chair, shoe, hoody. In Heinrich’s latest work, the object he has drawn and rubbed, is cut out in order to once again gain a third dimension and become solid.
Hannes Heinrich is a Munich-based artist. He studied in Munich, graduating in 2017, Klasse Kneffel. His most recent exhibitions include: ‘Part of a process,’ Galerie Jahn & Jahn, Munich (2022); ’Die ersten Jahren der Professionalität, BBK, Munich (2022); ‘The Shade, Kunstverein Kirchzarten (2020) and ’Ruinous Times’, Ruine München, Lenbachhaus Munich (2020).
Buket Isgören is a Turkish artist who lives in Cologne and works at at Kunsthaus KAT18. GiG Munich learnt about her work through Aneta Rostkowska, the director of CCA Temporary gallery. Aneta visited GiG Munich and left the pamphlet accompanying the 2020 exhibition ‘Florophilia’. The strength of the writing lead GiG Munich to contact Aneta, who then agreed to collaborate with GiG for Various Others. She then suggested we show Buket’s work together. Buket Isgören is autistic and this presented the challenge of how to write about art in the theoretical way characteristic of GiG, but in a language that is simple. The exhibition will be accompanied by language workshops, inviting participants to translate difficult texts to simple German. This is in the spirit of Temporary Gallery and its focus on social context.