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Highlights 2013 - Ana Teixeira Pinto

Ana Teixeira Pinto is a writer from Lisbon, currently living in Berlin. She is finishing her PhD at Humboldt University, and is a regular contributor to the art magazines von100 and Mousse, among others.

Yakov Khalip, Mayan Language Unraveled. Punch Cards (1962), included in the Bergen Assembly 2013

Yakov Khalip, Mayan Language Unraveled. Punch Cards (1962), included in the Bergen Assembly 2013

After being asked to write this list it slowly started to dawn on me none of the films I enjoyed this year were released in 2013 and the two books I most wanted to recommend – Oxana Timofeeva’s History of Animals: An Essay on Negativity, Immanence and Freedom (Jan van Eyck Academie) and Hito Steyerl’s The Wretched of the Screen (Sternberg Press) – both turned out to have been published in 2012. So there, I just smuggled them in anyway, but promise I will stick to the rules from now on …

Eleanor Antin Merrit from California Lives (1969/98); courtesy: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Eleanor Antin Merrit from California Lives (1969/98); courtesy: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

I have been following the programme of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin with great interest, especially the projects ‘Former West’ (2008–14) and ‘After Year Zero’ (2013). But if I have to single out one exhibition however I would pick ‘The Whole Earth’, curated by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke in the Summer – an amazing treasure trove of historical idiosyncrasies.

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Zespół Czarnych Form Organicznych (Team Black Organische Form / Group of Black Organic Forms) (1974); photograph: Achim Kukulies

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Zespół Czarnych Form Organicznych (Team Black Organische Form / Group of Black Organic Forms) (1974); photograph: Achim Kukulies

Another important show was TEXTILES: OPEN LETTER’ curated by Rike Frank and Grant Watson for the Museum Abteiberg – a very well thought-out exhibition, which explores the often unacknowledged role textiles played in the development of visual abstraction and serial composition – from modernism to contemporary art.

In the absence of a new season of Game of Thrones, and after I lost my local video rental store to Prenzlauerberg gentrification, I’ve taken to following Vdrome, an online platform curated by Edoardo Bonaspetti, Jens Hoffmann, Andrea Lissoni and Filipa Ramos. Every film is introduced with a short q&a and stays online for a brief period only –an exhibition format that meets the distribution potential of digital video without compromising the artists’ income. Yes I know what you are probably thinking, but I am not a hi-res fetishist, and the project allowed me to discover the work of Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc and Marcus Coates, which I probably wouldn’t have came across otherwise.

Leonor Antunes a linha é tão fina que o olho, apesar de armado com uma lupa, imagina-a ao invés de vê-la (2013) installation view Kunsthalle Lissabon

Leonor Antunes a linha é tão fina que o olho, apesar de armado com uma lupa, imagina-a ao invés de vê-la (2013) installation view Kunsthalle Lissabon

From the viewpoint of the visitor, biennials might always prove a somewhat frustrating experience. Yet, as the Bergen Assembly 2013 – ‘Monday Begins on Saturday’ curated by Ekaterina Degot and David Riff – made manifest, biennials also allow for alternative discourse networks to emerge, else all you have left is market consensus.

Jutta Koether, installation view PRAXES, Berlin, 2013

Jutta Koether, installation view PRAXES, Berlin, 2013

It might seem odd to recommend Leonor Antunes’ ‘a linha é tão fina que o olho, apesar de armado com uma lupa, imagina-a ao invés de vê-la’ at the Kunsthalle Lissabon when the artist had a much more substantial exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel this autumn, but I simply didn’t see the latter –and the Kunsthalle Lissabon is in my hometown.

Karl Holmqvist Untitled (Checkerboard Painting Black)
(2013) vinyl on wood

Karl Holmqvist Untitled (Checkerboard Painting Black)
(2013) vinyl on wood

Painting might endure forever but Jutta Koether’s cycle of shows at Praxes is the only painting exhibition I want to see now. I was also fond of Aleksandra Domanovic’s ‘The Future Was at Her Fingertips’ at Tanya Leighton – her take on how history slipped between her fingers; and Karl Holmqvist’s double exhibition ‘EQ UI LI BR IU M’ at Galerie Neu and MD72 for his doctrine of word egalitarianism; Anna Boghiguian’s ‘Unstructured Diary for an Autobiography’ at the Daad Galerie; and Angela Melitopoulos and Maurizio Lazzarato’s ‘The Life Of Particles’, at the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded about the unfathomable relation between psychology and geography.

Jaron Lanier Who Owns the Future, 2013

Jaron Lanier Who Owns the Future, 2013

In terms of books, Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future (Simon & Schuster) was the first sensible account I read about what the internet really means to the world’s economy. Similarly, I am indebted to Martha Rosler’s Culture Class (Sternberg Press) for pointing out how the history of abstract expressionism is intertwined with the history of transnational capital flows. Last but not least, I just began reading T. J. Demos’ The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis, published by Duke University Press.

Ana Teixeira Pinto is a writer from Lisbon who lives in Berlin. She is currently finishing her PhD at Humboldt University, and is a regular contributor to frieze d/e, Art Agenda and Mousse, among other publications.

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Janiva Ellis, Catchphrase Coping Mechanism, 2019, oil on linen, 2.2 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York; photograph: Joerg Lohse

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