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  • The Registry of Promise: The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tonguesinstallation view
  • Becky BeasleyA Storage Space (After Faulkner), 2008 (Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London)
  • Michael Deanhnnnhhnnn-hnnnhnnnnh (Analogue Series), 2014 (Courtesy de kunstenaar, Herald St., Londen, Supportico Lopez, Berlijn)
  • The Registry of Promise: The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tonguesinstallation view
  • Reto PulferHermetisch (Pencils vs Papers), 2006
  • The Registry of Promise: The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tonguesinstallation view
  • Lucy SkaerUntitled (Le Siege), 2009
  • Jean-Luc MoulèneEchantillon / Monochrome, New York, March, 2010 (Courtesy de kunstenaar & Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris)
  • The Registry of Promise: The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tonguesinstallation view
  • Matt MullicanChart, 2003
  • Carlo Gabriele TribbioliReperti per il prossimo milione di anni (Archivio), 2007/2009/2012 (Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London)

The Registry of Promise – Part Four

 

The Registry of Promise:
The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues

 

Becky Beasley, Michael Dean, Jean-Luc Moulène, Matt Mullican, Reto Pulfer, Lucy Skaer and Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli

 

Curated by Chris Sharp

 

January 25 – March 29, 2015

 

The Registry of Promise is a series of exhibitions that reflect on our increasingly fraught relationship with what the future may or may not hold in store for us. These exhibitions engage and play upon the various readings of promise as something that simultaneously anticipates a future, its fulfillment or lack thereof, as well as a kind of inevitability, either positive or negative. Such polyvalence assumes a particular poignancy in the current historical moment. Given that the technological and scientific notions of progress inaugurated by the enlightenment no longer have the same purchase they once did, we have long since abandoned the linear vision of the future the enlightenment once betokened. Meanwhile, what is coming to substitute our former conception would hardly seem to be a substitute at all: the looming specter of global ecological catastrophe. From the anthropocentric promise of modernity, it would seem, we have turned to a negative faith in the post-human. And yet the future is not necessarily a closed book. Far from fatalistic, The Registry of Promise takes into consideration these varying modes of the future while trying to conceive of others. In doing so, it seeks to valorize the potential polyvalence and mutability at the heart of the word promise.

 

Taking place over the course of approximately one year, The Registry of Promise consists of four autonomous, inter-related exhibitions, which can be read as individual chapters in a book. It was inaugurated by The Promise of Melancholy and Ecology at the Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, then followed by The Promise of Multiple Temporalities at Parc Saint Léger, centre d’art contemporain, Pougues-Les-Eaux, then The Promise of Moving Things at Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, and will conclude with The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues at De Kabinetten van De Vleeshal, Middelburg.

 

The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues

 

The fourth and final part of The Registry of Promise: The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues, addresses language, modes of writing and the book. Stretched to its breaking point while being at once materialized and dissolved into a certain opacity, language assumes a plastic quality in this exhibition– as if it were something that could be grabbed onto and held, and yet remained entirely beyond one’s grasp. What is more, in this exhibition language has been made to shed its practical capacity of communication, entering into a much more marginal space of purpose, while nevertheless seeking to foster a productive, if at times, sinister reverie.

 

All the artists included in this exhibition have a close relationship to language, but one which varies both formally and referentially. Becky Beasley and Michael Dean possess a distinctly literary approach, as in Beasley’s paper back-sized sculpture A Storage Space (After Faulkner), 2008. Fashioned out of Black American Walnut and black glass, this sculpture, whose dimensions is the same as two, identical Penguin editions of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, borrows the aesthetic vocabulary of minimalism, underlining its historical antagonism to narrative and effectively funereal character through the definitive closure of the book– a closure that nevertheless does not shut down narrative possibility, but rather opens it up through its very absence. This more pointed literary work is complemented by the suspended rotating sculpture, Bearings, 2014. This three meter long, brass cast is made from nine twigs collected by the artist’s father from wind-fall after the St. Jude storm. Assembled as such, they could be read as a syntactical construction evocative of a divining rod. Michael Dean’s hnnnhhnnn-hnnnhnnnnh (Analogue Series), 2014, consists of a dictionary drenched in red ink and left out in the sun to dry. Twisted and gnarled, it resembles a large, red tongue, itself beleaguered and ultimately disfigured by language. Other artists, such as Jean-Luc Moulène and Lucy Skaer sublimate language into form, transposing it into something that at once transcends and remains immured in a decidedly unintelligible signification. Moulène’s Echantillon/Monochome, New York, March 2010, for instance, comprises four panels, which have been uniformed colored with Bic felt markers. Readable as so many palimpsests laboriously transformed into monochromes, these panels speak to a glut and total saturation of word stuffs. Lucy Skaer’s sculptural installation Untitled (Le Siège), 2009, consists of a table whose surface has been carved into an 0 and which she uses to draw prints from. Language’s communicative function is subordinated to a seemingly counterintuitive image-making process. The work of Matt Mullican, Reto Pulfer and Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli address language as something that exists between divination, world-making and speaking in tongues. While Matt Mullican is known for entering trance states to draw and write, elaborating systems as he proceeds,  as exemplified in the complex drawing Chart, 2003, presented here, the work of Reto Pulfer creates sculptures and installations based on his own private language systems. The work Hermetisch, 2006, which involves cards, language and sticks, is activated by a performance in which chance and language determine the overall structure of the final result, which is evocative of a kind of soothsaying ritual. Finally Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli’s installation Reperti per il prossimo milione di anni (2007-09) is the byproduct of an attempt to create a myth and ritual in the 21st century, whose primary audience is located in the future. Composed of everything from performance, photography, drawing, video, sculpture and installation, the final product consists of a meticulously and methodically constructed archive, which, for all its will to fashion a future myth, is ultimately inscrutable.

  • Hans SchabusKonstruktion des Himmels, 1994 (Courtesy of the artist and ZERO…)
  • Mandla ReuterThe Agreement, Vienna, 2011 © Mandla Reuter / Adagp 2014 (Courtesy Galerie Mezzanin, Vienne)
  • Antoine NessiUnknown Organs, 2014
  • Nina CanellTreetops, Hillsides and Ditches, 2011 © Nina Canell / Adagp, 2014 (Courtesy Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin ; Collection privée, Belgique)
  • Nina CanellPresent Tense, 2014 © Nina Canell / Adagp 2014 (Courtesy Galerie Wien Lukatsch, Mother’s Tankstation et Daniel Marzona)
  • Michael E. SmithUntitled, 2014 (Courtesy of the artist, Clifton Benevento, New York & Michael Benevento, Los Angeles)
  • Michael E. SmithUntitled, 2014 (Courtesy of the artist, Clifton Benevento, New York & Michael Benevento, Los Angeles)
  • Alexander GutkeAuto-scope, 2012 (Courtesy Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin / Ljubljana)
  • Alexander GutkeAuto-scope (photogramme), 2012 (Courtesy Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin / Ljubljana)

The Registry of Promise – Part Three

The Registry of Promise :
The Promise of Moving Things

 

Nina Canell, Michael E. Smith, Alexander Gutke, Antoine Nessi, Mandla Reuter, and Hans Schabus.

 

Exhibition from 12 September to 21 December 2014
Opening Thursday 11 September 2014 from 5 PM to 9 PM

 

Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac
La Manufacture des Œillets
25-29 rue Raspail, 94200 Ivry-sur-Seine, France

 

The third part of The Registry of Promise, The Promise of Moving Things deals with the so-called life of objects in our current pre-post-apocalyptic paradigm. Influenced in equal measure by animism, the much-discussed philosophical movement Object Oriented Ontology, the surrealism of Alberto Giacometti’s early masterpiece The Palace at 4 am (1932) and even the theoretical reflections of the Nouveau Roman novelist, theorist and editor Alain Robbe-Grillet (an OOOer, so to speak, well avant la lettre), The Promise of Moving Things seeks to address just that– the very idea that there exists some promise within objects in a world in which humans no longer roam the earth. Neither a critical rejection nor an endorsement of these ideas, the exhibition embraces the ambiguity at the very heart of the word promise. It questions to what extent this negative faith in the cultural and animistic legacy of objects is a genuine rupture with the anthropocentric tradition of humanism and to what extent it is merely a perpetuation of it.

 

Thus does the exhibition consist of works that features objects or processes which seem to possess some form of human subjectivity. For instance, the Austrian, Vienna-based artists Hans Schabus’ sprawling sculptural installation, Konstruktion des Himmels (1994), could merely be a random collection of variously seized wax balls and an elaborate light fixture or the most human forms of celestial organization: a constellation (which it is: a recreation of Apparatus Sculptoris [Sculptor’s Studio], identified and named in the 18th century by Louis de Lacaille). Almost but not entirely by association, German, Berlin-based Mandla Reuter’s sculpture installation, The Agreement (Vienna) 2011, which has been paired with Schabus’ work and is comprised of an armoire hanging from the ceiling, assumes a quasi, supernatural and animistic quality. The transference of so-called human subjectivity is unmistakable in Swedish, Malmö-based Alexander Gutke’s work, Autoscope (2012). This 16mm film installation portrays the trajectory of a piece of film passing through the interior of a projector, exiting into a snowy, tree-dotted landscape, ascending upward into the sky before plunging back down to earth and looping back into the projector, and repeating the process, all as if in an allegory of reincarnation. The US, New Hampshire-based artist Michael E. Smith’s slight sculptural interventions, which often consist of recycled textiles, materials from the automotive industry, animal parts, and a variety of toxic plastics, are known to possess qualities hauntingly evocative of the human body, as if the spirit of one had entered the other. Drawing his formal vocabulary from machines and tools, French, Dijon-based artist Antoine Nessi creates sculpture, which can perhaps be best described as post-industrial, in which the inanimate seems to take on an organic quality, assuming a life of their own. Finally, the practice of the Swedish, Berlin-based artist Nina Canell is no stranger to the kinetic and to a certain, if specious sense of animism. Something of a case in point, Treetops, Hillsides & Ditches (2011) is a multi-part sculpture comprised of four shafts of wood over the top of which a clump of Iranian pistachio gum has been spread (like the top of a match) and which slowly crawls down the sides of the wood, enveloping it, like living a skin.

 

Thus is the reception of each work complicated and vexed through issues of subjectivity, projection, necessity, and desire. Now to what extent the works are complicit in that reception both varies and is debatable. Whatever the case may be, it is virtually impossible to say, but this does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to conceive of a world without humanism, as argued by Robbe-Grillet, at its center.

 

EVENTS

 

Round-table
The Registry of Promise: one exhibition, four places
Thursday 11 September 2014 at 3:30 PM

 

As a prelude to the opening at Crédac, this round-table will bring together some of the main participants to the project The Registry of Promise. In the presence of the curator Chris Sharp, Lorenzo Benedetti, director of De Appel, Amsterdam (for The Promise of Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues at SBKM/De Vleeshal), Claire Le Restif, director of Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine (The Promise of Moving Things) and Sandra Patron, director of Parc Saint-Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux (The Promise of Multiple Temporalities).

 

Nuit blanche
Saturday 4 October 2014 from 7 P.M. to A.M.

 

In the framework of the group show The Promise of Moving Things, an outdoor screening of Michael E. Smith’s video Jellyfish (2011), projected from the inside of Crédac.

  • Anicka YiTenzingbaharakginaeditscottronnienikolalosangsandrafabiansamuelaninahannahelaine, 2013 © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger
  • Francisco TropaLantern, 2012 © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger (Courtesy galerie Jocelyn Wolff)
  • Andy WarholSleep, 1963 © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger (Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh / Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)
  • Patrick BernatchezBW (Black Watch) (detail), 2010 © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger (Courtesy the artist and Battat Contemporary)
  • Rosalind NashashibiThe Prisoner (detail), 2008 © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger
  • Juliette BlightmanThis World is not my Home, 2010 © Aurélien Mole / Parc Saint Léger (Courtesy Jacopo Menzani)

The Registry of Promise – Part Two

PARC SAINT LÉGER

The Registry of Promise:
The Promise of multiple Temporalities

Patrick Bernatchez, Juliette Blightman, Rosalind Nashashibi, Francisco Tropa, Andy Warhol, Anicka Yi

June 14–September 14, 2014
Opening Friday, June 13, 6:30pm

Parc Saint Léger, Centre d’art contemporain
Avenue Conti
58320 Pougues-les-Eaux
France

“The Registry of Promise” is a series of exhibitions that reflect on our increasingly fraught relationship with what the future may or may not hold in store for us. These exhibitions engage and play upon the various readings of promise as something that simultaneously anticipates a future, its fulfillment or lack thereof, as well as a kind of inevitability, both positive or negative. Such polyvalence assumes a particular poignance in the current historical moment. Given that the technological and scientific notions of progress inaugurated by the enlightenment no longer have the same purchase they once did, we have long since abandoned the linear vision of the future the enlightenment once betokened. Meanwhile, what is coming to substitute our former conception would hardly seem to be a substitute at all: the looming specter of global ecological catastrophe. From the anthropocentric promise of modernity, it would seem, we have turned to a negative faith in the post-human. And yet the future is not necessarily a closed book. Far from fatalistic, “The Registry of Promise” takes into consideration these varying modes of the future while trying to conceive of others. In doing so, it seeks to valorize the potential polyvalence and mutability at the heart of the word promise.

Taking place over the course of approximately one year, “The Registry of Promise” consists of four autonomous, inter-related exhibitions, which can be read as individual chapters in a book. It was inaugurated by “The Promise of Melancholy and Ecology” at the Fondazione Giualiani, Rome, in May which is followed by “The Promise of Multiple Temporalities” at Centre Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-Les-Eaux, then “The Promise of Moving Things” at Le Credac, Ivry, and will conclude with “The Promise of Literature, Soothsaying and Speaking in Tongues” at De Vleeshal, Middelburg.

Part two, “The Promise of Multiple Temporalities”, responds to the collapse of faith in progress, and the singularly conception of linear time that underpinned it with another conception of time, which is multifarious, contradictory, and nevertheless co-existent. Here time spiders out into a variety of directions, alternatively expanding, coming to a grinding halt, circling back upon itself, or transforming into water. A single revolution of Canadian artist Patrick Bernatchez’s Black Watch (2011), specially commissioned to a Swiss watch maker, requires not the usual twenty four hours to go full circle, but a thousand years, and in doing so, dwarfs human cycles of time to virtually nothing. Where this work uses the watch to extend time virtually beyond human comprehension, Portuguese, Lisbon-based artist Francisco Tropa’s Lantern (2012) goes back, so to speak, to the beginning of time. Part of his ongoing investigation of antique time-telling devices, Lantern, is a recreation of a clepsydra– an ancient device for measuring time by the regulated flow of water through a small aperture– which is then projected on the wall, like a magic lantern. English, Berlin-based artist Juliette Blightman’s This World is not My Home (2010) telescopes time onto two periods of the afternoon, 3 pm, which could be considered the dead time of the day, as well as 5 pm, which is traditionally quitting time. The work is comprised of a chair on a rug with a fire grate placed in front of an open window. Everyday at 3 pm, a single log is placed on the grate and lit, and then every day at 5 o’clock the song, “This World is not My Home” by Jim Reeves plays. Rosalind Nashashibi’s The Prisoner (2008) could be said to compress the loop embedded in Blightman’s work. This 16mm two-projector film installation, which feeds the same film through both projectors at naturally non-synchronized screenings, depicts a woman climbing a set of stairs over and over again, as if trapped in the same infernal instant. Andy Warhol’s Sleep (1963), which consists of an image of John Giorno sleeping for five hours and twenty minutes is a classic literalization of cinematic time as time. American, New York based Anicka Yi’s work Tenzingbaharakginaeditscottronnienikolalosangsandrafabiansamuelaninahannahelaine (2013) embodies, among other things, the sense of memento mori that inevitably courses through the entire exhibition. For this sculptural installation, Yi deep fried flowers in tempura batter and then placed them in a Donald Judd-like series of card board boxes full of resin. What is more, given the organic nature of this work, it is necessarily dialectical, in so far as, it is unstable and it will evolve over time.

“The Registry of Promise” is a co-production of Fondazione Giuliani; Parc Saint Léger, Centre d’art contemporain; Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac; and SBKM/De Vleeshal.

The project is part of PIANO, Prepared Platform for Contemporary Art, France–Italy 2014–2015, initiated by d.c.a/French association for the development of centres d’art, in partnership with the Institut Français Italia, the French Embassy in Italy and the Institut Français, with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Nuovi Mecenati Foundation.