February 22, 2024

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An Intellectual Ark: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, “Panoramism and the Abstract Sector” at Esther Schipper, Berlin

An Intellectual Ark: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, “Panoramism and the Abstract Sector” at Esther Schipper, Berlin

As the lights go out in the major-floor room of Esther Schipper’s Berlin gallery, the visitors’ chatter grows a little quieter. Some folks audibly suck in their breath. When the lights appear back again on immediately after a couple seconds, the voices again improve louder and much more confident. These smaller ruptures will repeat a couple of instances that evening, with no rationalization. They are intentional, as they reduce Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s show Panoramism and the Abstract Sector, which is accompanied by an ambient sound piece by Julien Perez, from turning into an extremely cozy room. They also supply brief moments for reflection.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, or DGF, as she is commonly acknowledged, normally tends to make exhibitions about shows, and this one particular takes on the kind of a panorama. A seamlessly assembled semicircle is created up of twelve panels, whose colors—red, blue, yellow—bleed onto the customized-manufactured carpet. Strewn about are cushions resembling oversize books, all with reproductions of real addresses printed on them, for instance Walter Benjamin’s A single Way Street (1928, English translation 1978), Okwui Enwezor’s The Quick Century (2001), and Isabelle Graw’s The Appreciate of Painting (2018). This is a looking through list materialized, and, in truth, the exhibit is conceived as a celebration of artists, writers, and thinkers.

DGF’s panorama, not like its historic predecessors, does not depict a majestic landscape or a heroic struggle. It is a collage showcasing hundreds of individuals, developing an result a bit like the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper cover.1 The imagery demands to be examine. Aspects of a drawing by Victor Hugo have been enlarged so as to be approximately unrecognizable, then overlaid with a painting of the Austrian actress and singer Lotte Lenya and a photo of Abstract Expressionist Lee Krasner in sunglasses. Murals by Diego Rivera are referenced. Irma Vep, the titular character of Les Vampires (1915), taken up in a movie and a new Television set clearly show by Olivier Assayas, tends to make many appearances. Rei Kawakubo, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Renée Eco-friendly are just a couple of additional of the artists and intellectuals, deceased and alive (a lot of them with a connection to Berlin), highlighted as located images cropped, organized, and printed on linen. Only the masses who celebrate the tumble of the Berlin Wall keep on being nameless and faceless.

The panels testify to a horror vacui, and the teeming figures give increase to a lot of storylines. The heritage of abstraction is told and retold, starting with Barbara Honywood, a title that normally has no put in this grand narrative. It is taken up by Mark Rothko, and then Krasner, who has develop into synonymous with a new interest in feminine artists heretofore eclipsed by male enthusiasts and friends.

Panoramism and the Summary Sector is the 3rd iteration of DGF’s sample-dependent panoramas. The initially one particular was revealed at Secession in Vienna in 2021, and the next opened in spring 2022 at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Both were being likewise organized. The installation in London, titled Alienarum 5, had a tangerine carpet and appeared womb-like, its psychedelic set up in line with the artist’s question: “What if aliens have been in really like with us?” (which she requested in an introductory movie for the display, smirkingly). 

The panorama evokes an aquarium or planetarium—other varieties of display concerned with the creation of worlds. The first historic panoramas had been set up in London in 1793, but these synthetic pictorial environments genuinely arrived to outline the subsequent century. Halfway concerning painting and architecture, museum exhibit and cinema, they occupy a unusual position. In hindsight, they appear as an aberration of artwork record, a gimmick. But they demonstrate that strategies of observing have a background, also. DGF’s version of the medium picks up the previous modernist methods of shock, fragmentation, and collage. 

The earlier two several years, suggests the artist, have improved her notion of room: she has begun to consider of it as a collective issue. Her panorama slows down perception, requires to be examine, and fosters a pleasurable engagement that gives increase to fascinating discussions, quite possibly. The functionality of panoramas has very long been taken over by a lot more productive narrative formats. Cinema tells stories, Television set shows tell them otherwise, video games are superior at creating immersive worlds. But what would have happened if the panorama had claimed some autonomy? Where by would exhibition earning have long gone? Purely hypothetical, of study course, but to inquire helps make perception contemplating the practice of an artist who, because the beginning of her job, has assumed deeply about circumstances of display screen.

DGF was born in 1965, and she remembers watching the 1969 Moon landing on television. In the ensuing ten years, “science fiction was more important than common literature,” she said on the event of her showat Serpentine. Hans Ulrich Obrist, the curator, claimed that the rooms can guide to visions and apparitions, with unabashed assurance in the community-developing electric power of the set up.2

At the flip of the century, DGF intended a property for a Japanese art collectora property that looks like a motion picture script, a reviewer wrote in Le Monde at the time.3 For a Y2K incarnation of the style dwelling Balenciaga, she intended stores. This sort of an fascination in the cosmic and the development of dioramic and panoramic worlds is evident amid specific other artists from her age cohort, these kinds of as Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe, whom DGF has commonly worked with. It all arrived collectively in Expodrome at the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2007), billed as a triple retrospective with Parreno and Huyghe, although DGF produced functions specially for the screen. In the sparse display, the viewer was put in the middle, not contrary to in a panorama. Tapis de lecture (2000–2007) bundled a pile of paperbacks, amongst them Kurt Cobain’s Journals (2002), and, as a nod to the place age, Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris. A bizarre confluence of moments and cultural references, like the a person at the moment on look at in Berlin, the place viewers stumble into a position that folds historic layers of twentieth-century Berlin into an atmospheric setting with Nick Cave and Erika Mann as contemporaries. Born as well late or way too early, it doesn’t matter—those figures all have a area in DGF’s canon.

The demonstrate is accompanied by Une Valise Transféministe, a assortment of publications the artist chosen with the thinker Paul B. Preciado, who was also concerned in the London installment of the panorama. The texts are arranged in a few suitcases: just one with guides posted right before 1900, one spanning the twentieth century, and the 3rd containing publications given that 2000. A projection reveals picked passages from the writings. The arrangement recalls Andy Warhol’s time capsules. It also brings to head the fragmented nature of feminist assumed, which seems to start a lot of things anew with just about every generation—a fragmented canon nevertheless in output. And it resembles Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise (1936–41), the suitcase-dimensions micro-retrospective the artist curated for his possess get the job done. DGF’s valises are exhibited open, but they glimpse like they could be closed promptly and taken to a secure place, need to the have to have come up. And although the show is a celebration of other artists and writers, which exudes self esteem in group, there is a darker implication: it also feels like an mental ark for survival.

at Esther Schipper, Berlin https://www.estherschipper.com

right until December 23, 2022

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster was born 1965 in Strasbourg, France. She studied at École des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble, L'École du Magasin, Centre Countrywide d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble and Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques, Paris. The artist lives and works in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. An experimental artist centered in Paris, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster has, due to the fact 1990, been checking out the various modalities of sensory and cognitive associations involving bodies and spaces, serious or fictitious, up to the place of questioning the length in between natural and inorganic life. Metabolizing literary and cinematographic, architectural and musical, scientific and pop references, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster makes "chambres" and "interiors", "gardens", "sights" and "planets", with regard to the several meanings that these conditions take on in the operates of Virginia Woolf or Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Brontë sisters or Thomas Pynchon, Joanna Russ or Philip K. Dick. This investigation of areas extends to a questioning of the implicit neutrality of procedures and exhibition areas. Her "mises en espace", "anticipations" and "apparitions" request to invade the sensory domain of the viewers in order to function intentional improvements in their memory and imagination. 
Picked solo exhibitions include: Alienarium 5, Serpentine Galleries, London (2022) OPERA (QM.15), Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Selection, Paris (2022) VOLCANIC Excursion (A Eyesight), Secession, Vienna (2021) Martian Desires Ensemble, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2018) Costumes and Needs for 21st Century, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster in collaboration with Manuel Raeder and BLESS, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2016). Recent team exhibitions involve: Shenzen Museum of Modern Art and Urban Planning, Shenzen (2022) M+ Museum West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong (2022) Bergen Assembly, Bergen (2022) Farbe ist Programm, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (2022) Programme Mire, Gare de Chêne-Bourg, Genève (2022) Video clip Area plan, Histories cycle, Museu de arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP), São Paulo (2021) Mirrors and Home windows, Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf (2021) Inaugural exhibition, The Tower, LUMA, Arles (2021) Setting - R. W. F. alive, mim | Raum für Kultur, Munich (2020) Enzo Mari, Triennale Milano, Milan (2020) May possibly You Stay in Fascinating Times, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2019) Luogo e Segni, Punta della Dogana, Venice (2019) Opera as the Planet, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz (2019) Welt ohne Außen, Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018).
Philipp Hindahl is a writer and editor primarily based in Berlin. He writes about art, architecture, and literature for magazines and newspapers.
1    Designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.
2    All quotations from Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/whats-on/dominique-gonzalez-foerster-alienarium-5/
3    Berenice Bailly, “Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, bourlingeuse des arts,” Le Monde, February 16, 2007, https://www.lemonde.fr/lifestyle/report/2007/02/16/dominique-gonzalez-foerster-bourlingueuse-des-arts_868282_3246.html.