Critic's Guide: Geneva

Ahead of artgèneve, a guide to the best shows to see around town

annik-wetter_2018-01-18_10085.jpg

Guillaume Dénervaud, HH Schématik 1°, 2018, 1.1 x 1.9 m, dry pigment, airbrush, gouache and magnet on paper. Courtesy: Hard Hat, Geneva; photograph: Annik Wetter

Guillaume Dénervaud, HH Schématik 1°, 2018, 1.1 x 1.9 m, dry pigment, airbrush, gouache and magnet on paper. Courtesy: Hard Hat, Geneva; photograph: Annik Wetter 

 

Guillaume Dénervaud, 'Spectrolia Corporation'
Hard Hat
19 January – 18 March

'Spectrolia Corporation', Guillaume Dénervaud's exhibition at Hard Hat, is organized around two large drawings: all-over tracery made of round, serpentine abstractions, interconnected shapes, produced thanks to a patiently developed technique. If the images by the Geneva-based artist evoke the fascinating textures of digital renderings, the works are in fact painstakingly handmade, using masking tape, scissors and graphite powder, enhanced with spray paint. Shiny magnet metal balls seem to crawl over the surface of the magmatic pictures, that are bathed in an industrial orange light, creating a crepuscular, sci-fi atmosphere. Suspended from the ceiling of the space, a spiraling sculptural element reinforces the dizzying effect of the display. In the vitrine of the gallery, Dénervaud has placed a found object, a plastic box used to measure air pollution which he has transformed into a lighting device, discreetly indicating the apocalyptic tone of the show, oscillating between illumination and extinction.

lauriers-7.jpg

Laure Marville, Moodboard, 2017, linocut and wool on fabric, 1.1 x 1.4 m. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Etienne Chosson 

Laure Marville, Moodboard, 2017, linocut and wool on fabric, 1.1 x 1.4 m. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Etienne Chosson 

Laure Marville, ‘Lauriers’
Société des Arts
12 January – 10 February

For those familiar with Laure Marville's work – rigorous, geometrical abstract motifs painted on wooden panels, complex combinations of shapes emerging from her interest in pop music, interior décor and Swiss folklore - 'Lauriers', presented at Société des Arts might come as a surprise. Here the Geneva and Lausanne-based artists mixes linocut and wool knitting to form dense, colourful, text-based compositions. Atlases of references as well as surfaces on which the artist seems to have inscribed reading notes and intimate souvenirs, the pieces constitute an unfolded journal that associates names of friends, planets and plants. In fact, it seems that 'Lauriers' uses its particular fabric-based materiality and the gesture of knitting as a statement on craftsmanship, taste and folk art, as well as a manifesto discreetly claiming domesticity, friendship and organic collaboration.

piper1973mythicbeingstill10_300dpi20cmh.jpg

Adrian Piper, The Mythic Being, 1973, film still. Collection of the Adrian Piper Research Foundation Berlin. Courtesy: © APRA Foundation Berlin

Adrian Piper, The Mythic Being, 1973, film still. Collection of the Adrian Piper Research Foundation Berlin. Courtesy: © APRA Foundation Berlin

Adrian Piper, ‘The Mythic Being’
Mamco
11 October – 4 February

Adrian Piper's ‘The Mythic Being’ at Mamco, organized by curator Elise Lammer, is a three-room display of works and archival elements collected in collaboration with the Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation in Berlin. Concentrating on works and documentation that derive from the artist's series of street performances between 1973 and 1975 – dressed as a man, wearing a moustache, a pair of reflective sunglasses and a curly wig – the show luminously reveals the poetic and political dimension of Piper's gender-questioning interventions. Drawings on black and white photos, taken from Piper's journal, each reproduce a different 'mantra' the artist's character memorized and repeated for a month. The provocative brutality, as well as the emotional intensity of the speeches, beautifully contrast with the theoretical background of the work - as revealed in a documentary film, placed at the end of the exhibition, by Peter Kennedy (Other than Art's Sake, 1973) showing one of Piper's performances.

‘Proxy Paradise’
LiveInYourHead
19 January – 9 February

Curated by Balthazar Lovay, Director of Fri-Art, the Kunsthalle in Fribourg, 'Proxy Paradise' presents a series of specially-produced works by recent graduates from the Geneva School of Art and Design, for the New Heads BNP Paribas Art Awards. Usually conceived as a proposal somewhere between a graduation show and a prize for young Swiss-based artists, this year's exhibition seems to have accessed another dimension. Collectively conceived as a curatorial statement that opposes the very idea of competition, ‘Proxy Paradise’ relies on inventive strategies or 'proxies' that allow the artists to avoid the cults of authorship (by delegation, infiltration, collaboration or even disappearance) or of seduction (parody, confrontation, critique, conversations) that are usually associated with art awards. The result by the 14 participants selected by Lovay form, in the end, a drily consistent arrangement of artworks that reveal the ethical aspirations of an emerging generation of artists.

007_dsc0884m_jpg_700x450_q85.jpg

Mandla Reuter, Clouds, 2018, optical fibre cable, Thasos marble, wood, 40 x 60 x 60 cm. Courtesy: Mezzanin, Geneva

Mandla Reuter, Clouds, 2018, optical fibre cable, Thasos marble, wood, 40 x 60 x 60 cm. Courtesy: Mezzanin, Geneva

Mandla Reuter, ‘PAPANANAMAMA’
Mezzanin Gallery
19 January – 17 March

In 2010, Mandla Reuter bought a parcel of land in Los Angeles that acts as the remote matrix of a series of works that inhabits the back room of his solo show at Mezzanin gallery: a dark blue, monochrome map using a diazo chemical process, a technique that was used by architects to copy plans, is displayed in relationship with a group of photographs that, placed upside down, documents the surroundings of the terrain. The South-African born, Berlin-based Reuter connects this ghost-site with an ensemble of other pieces that freely associate indexes of a personal geography, as well as a meditation on global networks: a ready-made optical fibre cable hung on the wall evokes a futurist tree branch (Electricity, 2018), small Thasos marble rocks, that travelled in a container from Greece to Los Angeles, and a optical fibre cable remain silently on the floor (Clouds, 2018). In the vitrine, the cast of a cacao nut (Fruit, 2018) silently reminds us of the fact that Switzerland may not itself be removed from the marketplace of  global postcolonial trade.

spike_sp_test_067.jpg

Cally Spooner, And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, 2013–15, five-channel HD film installation, installation view Spike Island, Bristol; photograph: Stuart Whipps 

Cally Spooner, And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, 2013–15, five-channel HD film installation, installation view Spike Island, Bristol; photograph: Stuart Whipps 

Cally Spooner, ‘Drag Drag Solo’
Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève
3 February - 18 March

'Drag Drag Solo', Cally Spooner's coming show at Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève relies on an investigation on time, that fuses past, present and future into a complex and polydisciplinary script. Placing the starting point of the show in advance of the actual opening, Spooner calls back to a previous work that was produced at the same place on the occasion of the Biennial of Moving Images 18 months ago (Drag Drag Solo, 2016). The London-based artist uses it to fluidly connect within her semi-retrospective, made of pieces that are added as time-loaded layers, displayed on the different floors and spaces of the institution. While existing works, including And You Were Wonderful, On Stage (2013–15) recompose a 'novel in progress', Spooner uses the Centre's movie theatre as a space for the rehearsal and announcement of a yet-to-come project, from her own soon-to-launch performance company, OFFSHORE.

clock.jpg

John M Armleder, Carl Gustav Krevatseveau (FS), 2013, 30 x 30 x 5 cm. Courtesy: the artist 

John M Armleder, Carl Gustav Krevatseveau (FS), 2013, 30 x 30 x 5 cm. Courtesy: the artist 

‘You Have Everything to Be Learned, Everything that Can Not be Learned’
Truth and Consequences
3 February  17 March

Drawing inspiration from both George Perec's The Man Who Sleeps (1967) and Hermann Melville's Bartleby, The Scrivener (1853), ‘You Have Everything to be Learned, Everything that Can Not be Learned’ arranges works that reflect on distance, unproductivity, and the act of stepping outside of the world. Perec's novel tells the story of a young man who isolates himself in his room, in order to think only of the world, while Melville's one recounts the well-known destiny of a scrivener who decides, one day, to remain inactive. Both are used as tools to investigate the political and social implications of gestures of silent resistance, of active stillness, in the face of the ever-active mechanisms of the liberal economy. At the centre of a constellation of works by emerging artists including Vittorio Brodmann, Alan Schmalz, Linda Voorhinde, Ulrich Wulff and Seyoung Yoon, a recent piece by major Swiss figure John M Armleder, Carl Gustav Krevatseveau (FS) (2013), stands as an icon of non-action: a clock with its hands cut out.

Main image: Guillaume Dénervaud, ‘Spectrolia’, 2018, 60 x 20 cm, cut and burnt stainless steel, graphite powder, acrylic ink, silicone, LED lamp. Courtesy: Hard Hat, Geneva; photograph: Annik Wetter

Yann Chateigné is a curator and writer based in Berlin. He is an associate professor at Geneva School of Art and Design.

Most Read

The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’...
In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed...
If artificial intelligence were ever to achieve sentience, could it feasibly produce art? (And would it be good?)
The punk activist-artists have been charged with disruption after they charged the field during the France vs Croatia...
27 educators are taking the London gallery to an employment tribunal, demanding that they be recognized as employees
In further news: Glasgow School of Art to be rebuilt; Philadelphia Museum of Art gets a Frank Gehry-designed restaurant
Highlights from Condo New York 2018 and Commonwealth and Council at 47 Canal: the summer shows to see
Knussen’s music laid out each component as ‘precarious, vulnerable, exposed’ – and his conducting similarly worked from...
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...
‘You can’t reason with him but you can ridicule him’ – lightweight as it is, Trump Baby is a win for art as a...
Anderson and partner Juman Malouf are sorting through the treasures of the celebrated Kunsthistorisches Museum for...
From Capote to Basquiat, the pop artist’s glittering ‘visual diary’ of the last years of his life is seen for the first...
‘When I opened Monika Sprüth Galerie, only very few German gallerists represented women artists’
Can a ragtag cluster of artists, curators and critics really push back against our ‘bare’ art world?
In further news: German government buys Giambologna at the eleventh hour; LACMA’s new expansion delayed
Gucci and Frieze present film number two in the Second Summer of Love series, focusing on the history of acid house
Judges described the gallery’s GBP£20 million redevelopment by Jamie Fobert Architects as ‘deeply intelligent’ and a ‘...
Is the lack of social mobility in the arts due to a self-congratulatory conviction that the sector represents the...
The controversial intellectual suggests art would be better done at home – she should be careful what she wishes for
Previously unheard music on Both Directions At Once includes blues as imposing as the saxophonist would ever record
In further news: Macron reconsiders artist residencies; British Council accused of censorship; V&A to host largest...
In our devotion to computation and its predictive capabilities are we rushing blindly towards our own demise?
Arts subjects are increasingly marginalized in the UK curriculum – but the controversial intellectual suggests art is...
An exhibition of performances at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, unfolds the rituals of sexual encounters
An art historian explains what the Carters’s takeover of the Paris museum says about art, race and power
Artist Andrea Fraser’s 2016 in Museums, Money and Politics lifts the lid on US museum board members and...
The Ruhrtriennale arts festival disinvited the Scottish hip-hop trio for their pro-Palestinian politics, then u-turned
The Baltimore’s director on why correcting the art historical canon is not only right but urgent for museums to remain...
Serpentine swimmers complain about Christo’s floating pyramid; and Hermitage’s psychic cat is a World Cup oracle: the...
The largest mural in Europe by the artist has been hidden for 30 years in an old storage depot – until now
Alumni Martin Boyce, Karla Black, Duncan Campbell and Ciara Phillips on the past and future of Charles Rennie...
In further news: po-mo architecture in the UK gets heritage status; Kassel to buy Olu Oguibe’s monument to refugees
The frieze columnist's first novel is an homage to, and embodiment of, the late, great Kathy Acker
60 years after the celebrated Brutalist architect fell foul of local authorities, a Berlin Unité d’Habitation apartment...
The British artist and Turner Prize winner is taking on the gun advocacy group at a time of renewed debate around arms...
The central thrust of the exhibition positions Sicily as the fulcrum of geopolitical conflicts over migration, trade,...
The Carters’s museum takeover powers through art history’s greatest hits – with a serious message about how the canon...
The 20-metre-high Mastaba finally realizes the artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s design
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’
US true crime series Unsolved takes two formative pop cultural events to explore their concealed human stories and...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018