Language, as performance and as text, as well as a deliberate blurring of the distinction between cultural labour and leisure, are at the core of for Fans and Scholars alike. Ways of and places for reading and listening, as well as what is written or said, will feature in this exhibition which opens on 5 March at westlondonprojects.
Karl Holmqvist and Jean-Michel Wicker share much with the pioneering books and initiatives of Ulises Carrión; an interest in printed matter, typography, pop and minority cultures and icons, DIY publishing and distribution, nonsense and repetition.
Carrión (1941-1989) was an important, unique, but almost forgotten figure in the somewhat minority fields of mail art, rubber stamp art and late Fluxus. His practice was distinguished by an interest in language, communication and distribution as well as in the structural, spatial and visual potential of both the page and the book. Equally critical of language’s function as a disciplining convention and of the perceived joylessness of much contemporary leftist rhetoric, Carrión’s project was an attempt to engender what he saw as an essential shift from “personal worlds to cultural strategies”.
Endeavoring to bring structuralism to bear on artist’s books, he coined the notion of ‘bookworks’ (The New Art of Making Books, 1975 and Bookworks Revisited, 1979): "...books in which the book form, a coherent sequence of pages, determines conditions for reading that are intrinsic to the work ... books that incorporate as a formal element the sequential nature of books and the reading process".
Simultaneously, he claimed to have abandoned literature to use not only language as raw material, but also people, places, objects, time, gossip, manners, the star system, television, etc.
The Lilia Prado Superstar Film Festival (1984) included film projections, cocktails, parties, and receptions organised in Amsterdam in honour of an unknown Mexican diva. Other Books and So (Amsterdam 1975-1978) was the first bookshop dedicated exclusively to artist’s books. Love Story (1983) was a bus tour of Amsterdam through the sites of an anonymous love story; The Gossip Scandal and Good Manners Project consisted in Carrión enlisting friends to spread gossip about himself. Involved with mail and rubber stamp art, in 1977 he came up with the Erratic Art Mail International System (E.A.M.I.) an alternative mailing system based on trust, with the magazine Ephemera (1977-78) and with the essays Mail Art and the Big Monster (1977) and Rubber Art Theory and Praxis (1978)
A large number of Carrión’s bookworks as well as material relating to his other projects will be presented in the show together with the video Aristotle’s Mistake (1985) a multilingual mock documentary on Onassis’ error in leaving Callas.
The conscious pursuit of a joyous strategy in art is equally central to both Karl Holmqvist and Jean-Michel Wicker. For both, experimentation with language - be it written or visual - nonsense, repetition, typography, and found material occupy a prominent place. Both enjoy the distance afforded by treating a foreign language (i.e. English) as a prefab, almost readymade material. Wicker makes ample use of automatic translation engines while Holmqvist privileges anything that can be written in a hotel room and carried in a suitcase.
Holmqvist has long been interested in communication and subjective uses of language. Finding the process of making something as interesting as the results it produces, he has responded to different situations by making books, wallpapers, lamps, videos, objects, and spoken word performances. Distinguished by their non-spectacular almost casual format, his readings have a hypnotic quality that engenders a momentary shift of focus within the gallery going experience. The possibility of a community, suggested and investigated by Holmqvist’s tridimensional and written works, become fleetingly actual. Arching back to beat poetry, they layer moments of sound and concrete poetry with political and religious indictments, individual musings, art references, and cover versions of well-remembered pop songs. For the exhibition Holmqvist will present a selection of his publications, a wallpaper, several lamps in installation, and a reading platform, which he will use during the opening night for a spoken word performance.
Jean-Michel Wicker lists the Casa Jungle urban garden in Nice as a major occupation since 2003. Meanwhile, he has been producing fanzines, manuals and scrapbooks. With tiles such as Lolita fanzine 1, Les Annees Jaunes Cahiers Special Douglas Sirk, Sontag 001 and Barbecue Manifesto, these carefully composed and beautifully xeroxed fanzines detail passing and lasting obsessions, famous and obscure people, architects and utopias. They enact, rather than address, Wicker’s gender and identity politics. A complete selection of his fanzines and a new one - provisionally titled B and concerning the meeting between two Angelas - will be presented in the show. These will be accompanied by Pavlova a new scrapbook dedicated to the dancer, the cake, and other fluffy things, as well as a movable cloud sculpture and a large stainless steel X.
As improvisation and response to the existing condition are essential to both artists, further developments are likely to occur.
Born 1941 in San Andres Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico
Died 1989 in Amsterdam
Lilia Prado Superstar, De Appel, Amsterdam
Bookish, When books become art, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork
La era de la discrepancia, Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Mexico City
Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf , Germany
Eco - Arte Contemporaneo Mexicano, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía MNCARS, Madrid
A Short History of Dutch Video Art, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai
Zona People 1974-1985, Non profit art space ,Firenze Mamco , Musée d´art moderne et contemporain, Geneva
Het boek en de kunstenaar, Stadsgalerij Heerlen, Heerlen
Livres d'artistes = Books by artists, Musée d´art contemporain de Montréal
Born 1964 in Västerås, Sweden.
Lives and works in Berlin
I´m with You in Rockland, Argos, Brussels
down and out, Dépendance, Brussels
Nýlistasafnið, The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik
Nausea, Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin
FLOORS / WALLS, Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin
The Rehersal, Hollybush Gardens, London
Sphinxx, Stuart Shave/Modern Art , London
Galeria Sentimental, Tensta Konsthall, Spanga
The Krautcho Club/In and out of place, Projectspace 176, London
Make Out!, studio44, Stockholm
Manifesta 7, Bolzano
Clinch / Cross / Cut, Team 404 & John Armleder, New Jersey, Basel
Eine choreographierte Ausstellung, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen
If I can't dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp
Performa 07, The Second Biennial of New Visual Art Performance, Performa, New York City, NY
Playback, Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, MAM/ARC, Paris
Born 1970 in France
Lives and works in Nice
7x2, Strausberger Platz 19, Berlin, Galerie Sandra Bürgel / BolteLang Zurich
Diesseits der Alpen: Hunger Jenseits der Alpen: Durst, Hadlichstrasse 44, Berlin
NY Art Book Fair of Printed Matter, Phillips de Pury & Company, NY
druckgrafik cabinet e, White Cubicle Toilet Gallery, George and Dragon, London
With Le Edizioni Della Luna at Published And Be Damned 5, Rochelle School, London
can a donkey think to be a ladybug (because the copy is to do nothing), Galerie Sandra Bürgel, Berlin
Art Basel Record Shop, Ecart & Villa Magica Records, Basel
CCA Bookfair with The Publish And Be Damned Archive, Glasgow
Michel de Certeau, Oui Centre d´Art Contemporain, Grenoble
Publish and Be Damned Archives, Ludlow 38, New York
Salon Light 4, Cneai at Point Ephémère, Paris
Riviera, a Purple Journal project, Zucca, Tokyo
Oh Girl, It’s a Boy!, Kunstverein München, Munich
Publish and Be Damned 4, The Rochelle School, London
United Nations Plaza, Berlin (audio-text)
No Room For The Groom, An Exhibition with Douglas Sirk, Herald St, London
RAW. Among The Ruins, Marres, Maastricht
Presque Rien, The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik
Anonymous Drawings N°5, Blütenweiss, Berlin