“I LIKE ALL KIND OF TUBES. THE YOUTUBE AND THE WHITE CUBE”

– Interview with Jacopo Saltarelli (Norway)

When did you start curating? Tell us something about your educational background?

I was born in Firenze in 1459. I know this may sound strange, but it all makes perfect sense. You see, I started out as an apprentice goldsmith. Soon, however, I found that prostitution was something I felt comfortable with, and liberated by. Through my work, I befriended Leonardo da Vinci, and became a model for many of his masterpieces. At the age of seventeen, they payed to sodomize me in public, and I spent two month in jail together with da Vinci and three of his friends.This became a turning point for me. After we were released, I discovered a paradox in the space-time continuum, contained in Leonardo’s asshole. I traveled through it, and was catapulted forward in time to a small cabin by the Norwegian coastline. Some young artists from the city of Oslo happened to find me, and after a bit of small-talk, they invited me to be the curator of a new gallery space. So here I am, back from the past to talk about the future.

What is the artistic field of your curatorial practice?

This is a question of specifying some form of limit to curatorial practice, something which I believe contradicts the basic non-meaning of the term. If you’re a curator who only curates video art, or collage for that matter, you’re already a stuck up, pretentious kind of guy, who seeks artists who adapt to his or hers designated niché one way or the other, and the exhibitions you create will end up fetishistic at best.

I like to curate artists which relate to some of my personal perspectives. Including, but not exclusive to, sexuality, scientific negation, blasphemy, perfection, beauty, rebelliousness, time, space and immortality. And also, things. You could say I’m a bit of a fetishist myself.

Saltarelli Salong

Is there a difference in curating different field of arts, etc. paintings, videos, interactive works or a piece of net art?

There is no reason why we should separate these fields and exhibit them as different practices. This is artes vulgares thinking at its most anal, and I dont think the material should be considered superior to the idea and context of a given artwork. In my youth the church was the only place to rock. Today, I find strict categorization close to impossible with the new, transmutational practices in this android age.

What kind of qualities do you think a curator should have?

Sadly, a curators traits is of an obnoxious charater. Public relation and sale, contextualization through media, projections of personal insecurities and so on. Overly charismatic and slick. A demigod wannabe. I think the curator is something which has emerged through the artists need to be collaborative, while still standing like a lone ranger on an heroic cliff. The lonely artistic genius is exactly that, a lonely arrogant man. Nothing gives us a greater thrill than satisfying our sense of exhaustion and ennui by polishing the bars of our prison cell. As jail, the museum leads to isolation.

Do you think that new and digital media used in contemporary art has brought new aspects to arts and curating? Yes or no, explain why?

BWPWAP? Yes, for me, I prefer keyboards over sloppy handwriting. It’s a way of immortalizing our own monologues. #YOLO

Work by Frido Evers / Saltarelli Salong

In times of “You Tube” and the Internet, do you think a curator is still needed?

I like all kind of tubes.The YouTube and the White Cube. One doesn’t necessarily exclude the other.

What are your curatorial plans for the future? What are your personal wishes, hopes and perspectives in curating?

Exploring the depths and caveats of art through Saltarelli Salong I also wish to materialize myself in a 3D hologram, exhibit works in a church, and travel back to Italy to see the social change of the last 500 years and feel the salt of the earth once more. The intestinal wormhole of da Vinci has taught me that money is a means to and end, the end being death.

“The Man and the Tree” / In SALT’s latest exhibition, Geir Backe Altern plants an illegal tree outside of the gallery

Photographs belong to Saltarelli Salong

What is the future of professional curating from your point of view?

Why so serious? That is my biggest concern. Art should not be dull or afraid of its shortcomings. Let’s leave behind this slick, slimy, unreasonably complex sociolect which contemporary art personifies to the point of neurosis. Contemporary art as presented today is the tragedy of perfection. The curator is often blamed as the legitimatizing force for commoditizing an ostensibly unapproachable field of useless innovation. But this is of course not the curators fault.

SALT (Saltarelli Salong) operate through weekend exhibitions, happenings, screenings, concerts and workshops mainly focsed on exhibiting young artists based in Oslo.

SALT is named after Jacobo Saltarelli, an apprentice goldsmith and notorious male prostitute who lived in Firenze during the renaissance. In 1476 Leonardo Da Vinci was arrested, spending two months in jail, along with several young companions, on the charge of sodomy with the then 17-years-old Jacopo.

Jacopo Saltarelli is now the founder, curator and gallerist of SALT. He was in his own time accused of being ‘party to many wretched affairs and consents to please those persons who request such wickedness of him. SALT believes this to be much the same service delivered by the majority of contemporary art.

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Filed under Art, Curator, Curator Talk, Konsthopp, Oslo, Performance, Political Art, Visual Art

UN_CURATE_ABLE

On-going: 30th of June – 2nd of September 2012, Toves Galleri (Copenhagen)

Un_Curate_Able is an exhibition project in three parts, organized, curated and produced by the artists at Tove’s Gallery. The project unfolds over the summer of 2012 in the following stages:

1. An uncurated group exhibition in Tove’s own premises, which examines and presents the current interests of Tove’s artists.

2. A re-curating of the exhibition in Fatforms space, an artist and curator-collective in Amsterdam. In this exhibition, Tove’s artists mix the roles of artist and curator, and thus renegotiate the initial positions of the first exhibition.

3. And finally, a contribution to the art fair during Copenhagen Art Festival, in which the three stages of Un_Curate_Able are documented in a live editing and production process, that results in a publication presented on a finissage at Tove’s Gallery.

Photographs and text by Amir Zainorin

Artists: Christian Jeppsson (SE), Hannah Heilmann (DK), Simon Damkjær (DK), Pind (DK), Jacob Jessen (DK), Honza Hoeck (DK), Uffe Holm (DK), Sandra Vaka Olsen (NO), Rasmus Høj Mygind (DK)

Date: 30th of June – 2nd of September 2012

Place: Toves Galleri, Vesterbrogade 97, Copenhagen

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Filed under Amir Zainorin, Art, Copenhagen, Fine Art, Guest blog, Visual Art

THAT’S A SECRET

In his latest performance “Man against a wall”, Elias Björn invited the public to sit down on a stool beside him (if they were interested) and see his penis, which had a flower placed in his urine tube. Beside that he stood leaning against the wall for about 30 minutes.

This is what Elias says about his artistic goals:

“With my masculinity interest I wish to broaden the discussion of what a male is and should be”

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Photograph taken by Alvaro Campo

Even though his most memorable moment as an artist is a secret, Elias Björn was kind enough to share with us his thoughts on our questions in Konshopp´s latest artist talk. To read the whole interview, click here

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Filed under Art, Artist Talk, Favourite of the month, Live art, Performance, Photography, Sociopolitical art, Stockholm, Video Art, Visual Art

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Final words: The Icelandic Love Corporation

It’s the last day of June and time to move on. Before we continue onto the summer — keeping a lower profile on the country side — we are wrapping up the “flavor of the month“, closing June with an artistic work that touches upon existential and political issues, which is theatrically staged with a humorous angle — in a peculiar fusion of realism and surrealism…

Happy summer everyone!

The Icelandic Love Corporation — Eirún Sigurðardóttir, Jóní Jónsdóttir, Sigrún Hrólfsdóttir and Dóra Ísleifsdóttir (who left the group in 2001) — met in Reykjavík, at the Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts. Their first big performance was “The Kiss”, featuring the artists kissing and was broadcasted on national TV in 1996.

The Kiss / Photo taken from ICL’s homepage

A kiss — they say — that was a little bit longer than a friends kiss but a little bit shorter than a lover’s kiss. In the end of the performance one of the artists kissed the camera lens and in the meantime, sent a kiss to every home in the whole country.

“With this performance we were trying to spread love and good feelings,” Sigrún says (in Grapewine 2007).

And since then — since that first kiss — the mission of the group has only expanded in line with their steadily growing career.

Women good enough to eat / Photo taken from ILC’s homepage

To The Icelandic Love Corporation, there are no rules — anything goes and nothing is irrelevant. Even though spreading love and good feeling is a part of their performances, The Icelandic Love Corporation has never been afraid to go all the way. Humour, femininity and carelessness is mixed with political thoughts and serious topics in their work, which is mostly performative — depending on time, place and “had-to-be-there” moments.  The group is enigmatic and their vibrant, life affirming work is both transient and anonymous. It’s not resistant to pin-pointing or analysing — and trying to do so is rather futile. Their work is honest — and refreshing — with a serious undertone that isn’t unwieldy. As is written in an interview with the group in the SiouxWire Annex from 2006:

“As a whole, their body of work is like an ornate diary, a window into their own personal journeys with the most incredible, enlightening outlook”.

“Where do we go from here?” / Photographer: Páll Stefánsson

Through performances and other mediums (including installations, prints, textile, sculptures, poetry, photography and videos), the group works to breakdown the distance between art and audience, and their projects often result in participatory events or public offerings. In one of their latest collaboration with Lilith Performance Studio in Malmö, the group created — in a living web of 5000 nylon pantyhose — a singular visual experience “Think Less, Feel more” that worked on irrational levels of the thinking process. The performance had its starting point in the visible and invisible contacts between people — conveying experiences of control and lack of control, conflict, sensitivity and elasticity …

… taking the performance artform just a one step further.

Think Less – Feel more / Photo taken from Lilith Performance Studio

The Icelandic Love Corporation (Gjörningaklúbburinn) was established by four Icelandic women in 1996 and since then, the group has gained a reputation both in Iceland and abroad. The fourth member (Dóra Ísleifsdóttir) left the group in 2001 but the three remaining members; Eirún Sigurðardóttir (1971), Jóní Jónsdóttir (1971) and Sigrún Hrólfsdóttir (1973), have kept on making artwork together, tour the world and surprise both audience and bypassers with innovative performances and lasting by-products including installations, sculptures, prints, textile, photographs, poetry and videos. Believing in the power of collaboration, the ILC’s history counts more than 200 exhibitions, as they’ve performed in small galleries and large museums, collaborated with renowned artists and musicians (f.ex. Björk) and invaded public spaces in major cities across the world. Their work can be found found in numerous public and private collections. 


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Filed under Art, Choreography, Documentary, Iceland, Installation, Live art, Media, Music, Performance, Photography, Political Art, Print, Reykjavík, Sculptures, Sociopolitical art, Sound Art, Textile Art, Video Art, Visual Art

THEATRE OF LIFE ARTISTRY

Net stroll: The Artist Theater (Iceland)

It might sound risky — or even ridiculous — to bring visual arts into the traditional theater environment. After all, the theatre  is (most of the time) a vast establishment where experiments are usually not allowed.

Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir / Photo by http://www.mbl.is/ Skapti

The “Artist Theater” is a group of artists from different directions that make glamorous evenings of performances in the basement of The National Theater in Iceland.

The group was originally founded at Klink og Bank in 2004 and has been working together every now and then, ever since.  In The Artist theater the audience can expect anything, the work is rarely rehearsed and the artist perform on each others work.

The Artist theater 2012 / Photo by Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson

In arts — the joy of creation is often hidden in the final outcome and is therefore totally out of sight from the audiences. This is dissimilar to what takes place in the Artist theater, where the process of creation is often in real time and for that reason — very visible.

Snorri Ásmundsson, an artist and a member of the group wrote this to explain the phenomenon further:

The phenomenon of The Artist theater is in fact undefined, founded by performance artists who had the need to have a go at existing methodology and format of performances and the theater. In Iceland there exists a strong tradition for the art of performances, here a very unique scene has evolved. A scene that surely needs to be regularly explored. Our size and geometrical isolation certainly effects this need.

Snorri Ásmundsson

Feedback of the past performances have been strong and seems to be significant in today´s Icelandic cultural life. The Artist Theater wants to evolve, awaken and contribute to all people who are ready to accept.

The Artist theater 2012: Snorri Ásmundsson, Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Ingibjörg Magnadóttir, Ragnar Bragason, Saga Sigurðardóttir, Margrét Bjarnadóttir, Ragnar Kjartansson, Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, Rakel McMahon, Ástrós Elísdóttir, Símon Birgisson and guests.

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Filed under Art, Favourite of the month, Iceland, Konsthopp, Live art, Net stroll, Performance, Reykjavík, Sociopolitical art, Visual Art

UNNESKO

Performance: 29th of June 2012 at 20.30, Gallerí Dvergur (Reykjavik)

In a live performance on the opening day at Dwarf Gallery / Gallerí Dvergur, Thomas Hörl will introduce himself as an Unnesko, a personalized world heritage.

The title of the show; „Unnesko“ is a word creation, refering to a world heritage organisation Unesco. More and more Austrian folkore groups such as the „Perchten“ of Gastein (Salzburg County) in the year 2011 or the Imst Carnival „Schemenlaufen“ (Tyrol) in 2010 were recorded to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria by the UNESCO.

Since customs always changed over the years, there are tendencies to keep them „original and traditional“, mostly refering to late 19th and early 20th century records from folklorists. In the oral history and strongly belief only males are allowed to participate in the performances. There are only few groups which are mixed genders or women only. None of that is mentioned in the official presentation of UNESCO, except for the Glöcklerlauf in Ebensee (Upper Austria). In the exhibition Thomas will show collages and two video works, as well.

You can join the event on Facebook here!

Pictures from “Medicine Mountain – Learn to Love in Seven Days I” by Thomas in Salzburg County (2010)

Photographs belong to Thomas Hörl


About the artist:

Thomas Hörl was born 1975 in Salzburg. He has long dealt with various aspects of “folklore” — autobiographically-regionally as well as within an international context. In terms of content, his focus is on ritualized forms of activity and threatening gestures such as the slitting open of bellies by the Perchten and the stories associated with them from the Alps. He deals with fearful elements within the tradition, but also with gender questions (hermaphroditic creatures, duality, heteronormativity, exclusion of women as performers, men in women’s dress — so-called Gesellinnen). His works start from research in libraries, museums, exhibitions, at folkloric events, and through select interviews with members of the population as a kind of seismographic field research.

— Cornelia Reinisch

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Filed under Performance, Reykjavík, Uncategorized

WHAT CAME FIRST? THE WOMAN OR THE EGG?

Solo performance: 14th & 15th of June 2012, CCAP Studios (Stockholm)

“Vulnerability, beauty, innocence. The white and the clean. Eggs on the inside and on the outside. When did I become a woman? When will I become the woman I want to be?” A solo performance on restraining oneself and to be free.

Disa Krosness /  Tove Brunberg. (Translated by Konsthopp) 

Photographs by Disa Krosness & Írena Steindórsdóttir

The performance, What came first? – The woman or the egg? is a study of projected femininity and how it manifests itself in the body. The opening scene starts with a woman — clean, pure — sitting on a chair, dressed in white, red high heals, painting a face on an egg. Spread around her and attached to her spine are the fragile eggs, which she carefully handles and proceeds around with caution. The solo is performed without music or sounds, so Tove’s facial expressions — titters, smiles, eye-contacts — and movements, are powerful and portray a feeling of insecurity, self-consciousness and restrictions. Under the performance, the woman lose her balance, falls and an egg shatters… after that, there is no going back for her…

Tuve Brunberg said this about the process of the project:

 ”It was a partnership that really challenged me as a person, on a private level but also on an artistic level. It has been a deep dive into myself as a person and what is actually important in the job as a dancer. It has been demanding physically as I have been executing expression that I am not accustomed to perform, such as “facial choreography” or mime, and other movements that did force me to push my limits physically and mentally.”

(Translated by Konsthopp)

The idea first came from Disa Krosness (1985), a dancer and choreographer, and is a result of a month-long collaboration between Disa Krosness, Tove Brunberg and Anna Lo Engwald (costume designer) in a residency at CCAP Studios in Stockholm. The whole project is basically no budget but Stockholm City contributed 10 000 for the marketing, costumes and props and CCAP offered free studio. Disa Krosness says that ..” the wish is to put it up on a gallery, where I think it would fit well. I am also seeking ways to make it into a dance film”.

I really hope her wish comes true — and that more people can enjoy this outstanding performance!

Disa Krosness (idea & choreography) is born in 1985 and trained as a dancer at the Schools of Modern Dance in Copenhagen. In the spring of 2012 Disa initiated Friends, with Benefits, a platform to promote cooperation among female dancers. In line with her desire to highlight newly established choreographers and dancers, Disa is involved in organizing the dance festival MOVE TO BE MOVED and has recently started the dance group Lativ Super, were the vision is to raise the dancer and choreographers status in society. 

Contact info: disakrosness@gmail.com

Tove Brunberg (process & presentation) is born in 1986 and has worked as a freelance dancer since she graduated from the Royal Swedish Ballet School (modern line) in 2006. She has produced and participated in performances with the group ches: co, which she helped establish in 2006 and which has performed in various places in Stockholm. Tove has also done her own solos as well as working in sets with Susanne Jaresand, Lotta Melin, Carl Olof Berg, Dorte Olesen, Sebastian Lingserius, Ossi Niskala and SU-EN Butoh Dance Company.

Contact info: tove.brunberg@gmail.com

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Filed under Art, Choreography, Dance, Favourite of the month, Live art, Performance, Political Art, Sociopolitical art, Uncategorized, Visual Art