Program Highlights 2015

How Far is Near – A Conference Series Organized by Triple Canopy

New York-based online publication, Triple Canopy, has organized a series of conversations, including a number of collaborators who live in Mexico City, that considers the ways in which political representation might be achieved—or recognized as a chimera, or disavowed—through the work of representing politics. In doing so the series will examine the affordances of new and old media; the relationship between the ways in which art and literature circulate and attain meaning; and the various responses by Mexican artists and writers to social and political crises in recent months and decades.

Material Art Fair

Sand in the Vaseline

A video program curated by Anna Gritz

In conjunction with Material Art Fair, Sand in the Vaseline presents three artists’ film programs by Adriana Lara, Sophia Al Maria, and Stuart Middleton. The program borrows its title from the legendary work by Ed Ruscha, later appropriated by Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen. It looks at the banalities that continue to disturb the well-oiled flow of modern living despite the radical changes in the way that life is being lived and work is being made. Consciously confusing form and utility, the program sheds lights on the hiccups in customization that bring us right back to the fragile tissue of human life and the social constructs it builds.

Anna Gritz is associate curator for Film, Performance and Talks at the South London Gallery, where she is currently working on forthcoming projects with artists Juliette Blightman, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, and Michael Smith. She was previously associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London, and she worked at the Hayward Gallery, London, and at apexart, New York. Her writing has been included in Mousee, Art Monthly, Art Agenda, frieze, frieze d/e, exhibition catalogs and books.

Schedule 2015

Friday

6 February 2015

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Material Art Fair

I Eyes U

“Oh Eye, Oh Night!” *

Sophia Al-Maria’s program “I Eyes U” is a self-described hot mess, a raw melange of materials that stem from the last eight-year’s of her diverse and multifaceted output. Early video works are shown side by side with footage she received anonymously via Bluetooth, trailers for unfinished features appear next to music videos and works by artists she collaborates with and admires such as Fatima Al Qadiri and Brad Butler & Karen Mirza.


Her moving images practice is intrinsically tied to owning a camera phone, to being able to capture and digest situations and events that she has been involved in and that then by some strange struck of fate make it into the work. “The mobile is the all seeing, location tracking object that in a strange way begins functioning like the ultimate relic of our lives. A lot of these also feel relic like to me. The mobile is the reliquary.” Doused with a sensation of memoir, in the best sense of the word, the work is an account that blurs what did happen with what was experienced. Like the piece Choque that Al-Maria shot the night Qatar got the World Cup 2022 bid and mixed with footage of FIFA protests in Brazil – two distant realities that are felt as one. And all this set in front of a phenomenon that she coined as Gulf Futurism, a state propelled by “the isolation of individuals via technology, wealth and Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism on the soul and industry on the earth, the erasure of history from our memories and our surroundings and finally, our dizzying collective arrival in a future no one was ready for.”


* The ‘Mawwal’ is a genre of traditional colloquial Arabic song and it often opens with variations on this phrase.

Sophia Al-Maria is a Qatari-American artist and writer based in London. Her memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth was published in 2012 by Harper Collins and has been translated into Arabic. Her video work has been shown in galleries, biennales and museums all over the world from New Zealand to South Korea to the United Arab Emirates. She has been interviewed about her work on Gulf Futurism in Vice Magazine, Dazed and Confused and TANK.


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Material Art Fair

Pig Eggs

“Still looking when I asked the barman for my drink. Cool pellets of moisture studded the chrome curves of a lager tap like a French tickler. I suggestively extended my fingers towards it, with a plan to run them through the quivering beads. Burst them scattering like some movie starlet seductress. They’re fucking plastic.”
Excerpts from Stuart Middleton’s writing makes poradic appearances in this screening in form of sluggish scrolls, embedded in a programme that assembles itself from the sporadic filmic output that accompanies Middleton’s otherwise mainly sculptural practice. Paired with source material, field recordings and footage from his personal archive this program is as much a solo programme as a work in itself.
Middleton’s films are dark reflections that reek of sweat, tears, and urine and especially the animations painfully deduce our existence to sacks of blood veins and muscles held together by tenuous tissue and indivisibly tied to the mechanics of our bodily functions. Skin is permeable and time is plastic. The short slowly evolving vignettes mimic the aesthetic and narrative structure of nineties comic book animations.
Repetitive movement panes are set against textured backdrops and paired with pop music quotations, wet sounds, and guttural narration. Other videos, like the footage from the Mechanical Garden project, a collaborative installation by the Woodmill collective that completed a never realized project by late British avant-garde artist Stephen Cripps, is both documentation and source material, it chronicles through long zooming pans, extreme close ups and sonic captures the installation and accompanying performances as an organic (short) lived reality. For this screening program, Middleton pairs his work with material by Len Lye, Richard Sides, Todd McFarlane and music by Korn.
Stuart Middleton (b. 1987 Crewe UK) is an artist based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he is currently studying at the Städelschule. Recent exhibitions include Sad Sketches, Piper Keys, London (solo); The Mechanical Garden and other Long Encores, (w/ Ben Burgis, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides) Dilston Grove, London; By night with torch and spear, Johan Berrgren, Malmø; Suppedaneum, Grand Century, New York. Middleton is a founding member of The Woodmill, an artists collective based in London.


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Material Art Fair

La tragedia y la comedia fueron improvisaciones en un inicio

“THE PAINTING IS A ROOM WRECKER” is a line that appears casually painted in thick black strokes on a piece of paper behind Gene Beery in his 1991 video selected by Adriana Lara for this program. Beery’s instructional clip is as much a passionate musing about the impulses behind his art making as a cynical comment on the art world itself. Both tendencies are present in much of Lara’s work and in this program. Entitled “Tragedy and Comedy where at first improvisations” the screening brings together a selection of Lara’s recent video work paired with moving images works by Brice Dellsperger, Allora & Calzadilla, Gene Beery, and others in more indirect ways.

Visual material of varying origins is seen both as cultural output and anthropological evidence that can be deciphered as shared efforts that reveal the structures that conform our collective idiosyncrasies. Customs and activities, symbols and rules are examined for their validity and potential outside of their insular social factions. Improvisation, immediacy and mimicry are seen in relation to formal decisions, rhythm and repetition. With Lara’s work you are always both in and out. Conflicting information, competing authority of image planes, inverted visual flatness and symbolic depth are addressed continually in her work. She conflates this apparent contradiction through a twofold approach that bridges the pleasure of contemplation with a sceptical distance. In a recent work, Naturaleza animada, 2015, shifting vistas of flowers blowing in the wind in manicured European park arrangements are superimposed with a fluctuating pictogram of a hand holding up a palette of iconic gestures. A single index finger points left then right and in the third variation is joined by the middle finger in what could be read a victory or peace sign. Lara is playing with the social codes that have been assigned to these gestures that vary from tallying to forbidding. The allure of the background imagery clashes with the emblematic nature of the overlaying information. The socio and cultural codes are undecipherable out of context and Lara’s homemade stock footage denies the viewer just that.

Adriana Lara lives and works in Mexico City. She has had one-person exhibitions at Indipendenza, Rome (2014), Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2012), Air de Paris, France (2012), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2010), Artpace San Antonio (2009) Algus Greenspon, New York (2012-13) and most recently at 21er Haus in Vienna, Austria (2014). Lara has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including the Marrakech Biennale 5 (2014), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012), MUSAC, Spain (2010), the New Museum, New York (2009), and the Jumex Collection in Mexico City (2008). She also participates in the collaborative curatorial project Perros Negros and the music collective LasserModerna. Since 2006 Lara has been editor-in-chief of Pazmaker, a fanzine edited under the Perros Negros label.


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Material Art Fair

In Search of a Model for Life

This conversation will be devoted to the promises and perils of collective endeavors; on publication as a means of forging and distributing relationships and representations. How does the work of publication test, in public, the ideals and aspirations that so many collective models aim to realize? What does the history of such models in México—where publication has so often been an essential medium and mode of circulation, especially for artists living in exile—tell us about their ability today to create potent representations and to foster powerful actions? The title is taken from Ehrenberg’s 1985 essay on the legacy of Los Grupos and the “collectivization of artistic practice.”

Saturday

7 February 2015

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Material Art Fair

La tragedia y la comedia fueron improvisaciones en un inicio

“THE PAINTING IS A ROOM WRECKER” is a line that appears casually painted in thick black strokes on a piece of paper behind Gene Beery in his 1991 video selected by Adriana Lara for this program. Beery’s instructional clip is as much a passionate musing about the impulses behind his art making as a cynical comment on the art world itself. Both tendencies are present in much of Lara’s work and in this program. Entitled “Tragedy and Comedy where at first improvisations” the screening brings together a selection of Lara’s recent video work paired with moving images works by Brice Dellsperger, Allora & Calzadilla, Gene Beery, and others in more indirect ways.

Visual material of varying origins is seen both as cultural output and anthropological evidence that can be deciphered as shared efforts that reveal the structures that conform our collective idiosyncrasies. Customs and activities, symbols and rules are examined for their validity and potential outside of their insular social factions. Improvisation, immediacy and mimicry are seen in relation to formal decisions, rhythm and repetition. With Lara’s work you are always both in and out. Conflicting information, competing authority of image planes, inverted visual flatness and symbolic depth are addressed continually in her work. She conflates this apparent contradiction through a twofold approach that bridges the pleasure of contemplation with a sceptical distance. In a recent work, Naturaleza animada, 2015, shifting vistas of flowers blowing in the wind in manicured European park arrangements are superimposed with a fluctuating pictogram of a hand holding up a palette of iconic gestures. A single index finger points left then right and in the third variation is joined by the middle finger in what could be read a victory or peace sign. Lara is playing with the social codes that have been assigned to these gestures that vary from tallying to forbidding. The allure of the background imagery clashes with the emblematic nature of the overlaying information. The socio and cultural codes are undecipherable out of context and Lara’s homemade stock footage denies the viewer just that.

Adriana Lara lives and works in Mexico City. She has had one-person exhibitions at Indipendenza, Rome (2014), Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2012), Air de Paris, France (2012), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2010), Artpace San Antonio (2009) Algus Greenspon, New York (2012-13) and most recently at 21er Haus in Vienna, Austria (2014). Lara has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including the Marrakech Biennale 5 (2014), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012), MUSAC, Spain (2010), the New Museum, New York (2009), and the Jumex Collection in Mexico City (2008). She also participates in the collaborative curatorial project Perros Negros and the music collective LasserModerna. Since 2006 Lara has been editor-in-chief of Pazmaker, a fanzine edited under the Perros Negros label.


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Material Art Fair

Pig Eggs

“Still looking when I asked the barman for my drink. Cool pellets of moisture studded the chrome curves of a lager tap like a French tickler. I suggestively extended my fingers towards it, with a plan to run them through the quivering beads. Burst them scattering like some movie starlet seductress. They’re fucking plastic.”
Excerpts from Stuart Middleton’s writing makes poradic appearances in this screening in form of sluggish scrolls, embedded in a programme that assembles itself from the sporadic filmic output that accompanies Middleton’s otherwise mainly sculptural practice. Paired with source material, field recordings and footage from his personal archive this program is as much a solo programme as a work in itself.
Middleton’s films are dark reflections that reek of sweat, tears, and urine and especially the animations painfully deduce our existence to sacks of blood veins and muscles held together by tenuous tissue and indivisibly tied to the mechanics of our bodily functions. Skin is permeable and time is plastic. The short slowly evolving vignettes mimic the aesthetic and narrative structure of nineties comic book animations.
Repetitive movement panes are set against textured backdrops and paired with pop music quotations, wet sounds, and guttural narration. Other videos, like the footage from the Mechanical Garden project, a collaborative installation by the Woodmill collective that completed a never realized project by late British avant-garde artist Stephen Cripps, is both documentation and source material, it chronicles through long zooming pans, extreme close ups and sonic captures the installation and accompanying performances as an organic (short) lived reality. For this screening program, Middleton pairs his work with material by Len Lye, Richard Sides, Todd McFarlane and music by Korn.
Stuart Middleton (b. 1987 Crewe UK) is an artist based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he is currently studying at the Städelschule. Recent exhibitions include Sad Sketches, Piper Keys, London (solo); The Mechanical Garden and other Long Encores, (w/ Ben Burgis, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides) Dilston Grove, London; By night with torch and spear, Johan Berrgren, Malmø; Suppedaneum, Grand Century, New York. Middleton is a founding member of The Woodmill, an artists collective based in London.


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Material Art Fair

I Eyes U

“Oh Eye, Oh Night!” *

Sophia Al-Maria’s program “I Eyes U” is a self-described hot mess, a raw melange of materials that stem from the last eight-year’s of her diverse and multifaceted output. Early video works are shown side by side with footage she received anonymously via Bluetooth, trailers for unfinished features appear next to music videos and works by artists she collaborates with and admires such as Fatima Al Qadiri and Brad Butler & Karen Mirza.


Her moving images practice is intrinsically tied to owning a camera phone, to being able to capture and digest situations and events that she has been involved in and that then by some strange struck of fate make it into the work. “The mobile is the all seeing, location tracking object that in a strange way begins functioning like the ultimate relic of our lives. A lot of these also feel relic like to me. The mobile is the reliquary.” Doused with a sensation of memoir, in the best sense of the word, the work is an account that blurs what did happen with what was experienced. Like the piece Choque that Al-Maria shot the night Qatar got the World Cup 2022 bid and mixed with footage of FIFA protests in Brazil – two distant realities that are felt as one. And all this set in front of a phenomenon that she coined as Gulf Futurism, a state propelled by “the isolation of individuals via technology, wealth and Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism on the soul and industry on the earth, the erasure of history from our memories and our surroundings and finally, our dizzying collective arrival in a future no one was ready for.”


* The ‘Mawwal’ is a genre of traditional colloquial Arabic song and it often opens with variations on this phrase.

Sophia Al-Maria is a Qatari-American artist and writer based in London. Her memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth was published in 2012 by Harper Collins and has been translated into Arabic. Her video work has been shown in galleries, biennales and museums all over the world from New Zealand to South Korea to the United Arab Emirates. She has been interviewed about her work on Gulf Futurism in Vice Magazine, Dazed and Confused and TANK.


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Material Art Fair

Universal Methods of Design

This conversation will be devoted to the relationship between design, print culture, and contemporary art. How do the strategies, tools, and material histories of graphic design function as subjects and structures for artworks? How does design—or, more specifically, the status of the designer and of designed objects, whether advertising campaigns or pedagogical platforms—function as an analogue for artistic practice? Participants will consider the historical relationship in México between design, architecture, and the projection of national culture (so often through magazines), and will ask how the ubiquitous designed environments that characterize our digital age might act as vehicles for art, whether profitably or desultorily.

Sunday

8 February 2015

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Material Art Fair

La tragedia y la comedia fueron improvisaciones en un inicio

“THE PAINTING IS A ROOM WRECKER” is a line that appears casually painted in thick black strokes on a piece of paper behind Gene Beery in his 1991 video selected by Adriana Lara for this program. Beery’s instructional clip is as much a passionate musing about the impulses behind his art making as a cynical comment on the art world itself.

Both tendencies are present in much of Lara’s work and in this program. Entitled “Tragedy and Comedy where at first improvisations” the screening brings together a selection of Lara’s recent video work paired with moving images works by Brice Dellsperger, Allora & Calzadilla, Gene Beery, and others in more indirect ways.

Visual material of varying origins is seen both as cultural output and anthropological evidence that can be deciphered as shared efforts that reveal the structures that conform our collective idiosyncrasies. Customs and activities, symbols and rules are examined for their validity and potential outside of their insular social factions. Improvisation, immediacy and mimicry are seen in relation to formal decisions, rhythm and repetition. With Lara’s work you are always both in and out. Conflicting information, competing authority of image planes, inverted visual flatness and symbolic depth are addressed continually in her work. She conflates this apparent contradiction through a twofold approach that bridges the pleasure of contemplation with a sceptical distance. In a recent work, Naturaleza animada, 2015, shifting vistas of flowers blowing in the wind in manicured European park arrangements are superimposed with a fluctuating pictogram of a hand holding up a palette of iconic gestures. A single index finger points left then right and in the third variation is joined by the middle finger in what could be read a victory or peace sign. Lara is playing with the social codes that have been assigned to these gestures that vary from tallying to forbidding. The allure of the background imagery clashes with the emblematic nature of the overlaying information. The socio and cultural codes are undecipherable out of context and Lara’s homemade stock footage denies the viewer just that.

Adriana Lara lives and works in Mexico City. She has had one-person exhibitions at Indipendenza, Rome (2014), Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2012), Air de Paris, France (2012), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2010), Artpace San Antonio (2009) Algus Greenspon, New York (2012-13) and most recently at 21er Haus in Vienna, Austria (2014). Lara has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including the Marrakech Biennale 5 (2014), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012), MUSAC, Spain (2010), the New Museum, New York (2009), and the Jumex Collection in Mexico City (2008). She also participates in the collaborative curatorial project Perros Negros and the music collective LasserModerna. Since 2006 Lara has been editor-in-chief of Pazmaker, a fanzine edited under the Perros Negros label.


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Material Art Fair

I Eyes U

“Oh Eye, Oh Night!” *

Sophia Al-Maria’s program “I Eyes U” is a self-described hot mess, a raw melange of materials that stem from the last eight-year’s of her diverse and multifaceted output. Early video works are shown side by side with footage she received anonymously via Bluetooth, trailers for unfinished features appear next to music videos and works by artists she collaborates with and admires such as Fatima Al Qadiri and Brad Butler & Karen Mirza.


Her moving images practice is intrinsically tied to owning a camera phone, to being able to capture and digest situations and events that she has been involved in and that then by some strange struck of fate make it into the work. “The mobile is the all seeing, location tracking object that in a strange way begins functioning like the ultimate relic of our lives. A lot of these also feel relic like to me. The mobile is the reliquary.” Doused with a sensation of memoir, in the best sense of the word, the work is an account that blurs what did happen with what was experienced. Like the piece Choque that Al-Maria shot the night Qatar got the World Cup 2022 bid and mixed with footage of FIFA protests in Brazil – two distant realities that are felt as one. And all this set in front of a phenomenon that she coined as Gulf Futurism, a state propelled by “the isolation of individuals via technology, wealth and Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism on the soul and industry on the earth, the erasure of history from our memories and our surroundings and finally, our dizzying collective arrival in a future no one was ready for.”


* The ‘Mawwal’ is a genre of traditional colloquial Arabic song and it often opens with variations on this phrase.

Sophia Al-Maria is a Qatari-American artist and writer based in London. Her memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth was published in 2012 by Harper Collins and has been translated into Arabic. Her video work has been shown in galleries, biennales and museums all over the world from New Zealand to South Korea to the United Arab Emirates. She has been interviewed about her work on Gulf Futurism in Vice Magazine, Dazed and Confused and TANK.


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Material Art Fair

Pig Eggs

“Still looking when I asked the barman for my drink. Cool pellets of moisture studded the chrome curves of a lager tap like a French tickler. I suggestively extended my fingers towards it, with a plan to run them through the quivering beads. Burst them scattering like some movie starlet seductress. They’re fucking plastic.”
Excerpts from Stuart Middleton’s writing makes poradic appearances in this screening in form of sluggish scrolls, embedded in a programme that assembles itself from the sporadic filmic output that accompanies Middleton’s otherwise mainly sculptural practice. Paired with source material, field recordings and footage from his personal archive this program is as much a solo programme as a work in itself.
Middleton’s films are dark reflections that reek of sweat, tears, and urine and especially the animations painfully deduce our existence to sacks of blood veins and muscles held together by tenuous tissue and indivisibly tied to the mechanics of our bodily functions. Skin is permeable and time is plastic. The short slowly evolving vignettes mimic the aesthetic and narrative structure of nineties comic book animations.
Repetitive movement panes are set against textured backdrops and paired with pop music quotations, wet sounds, and guttural narration. Other videos, like the footage from the Mechanical Garden project, a collaborative installation by the Woodmill collective that completed a never realized project by late British avant-garde artist Stephen Cripps, is both documentation and source material, it chronicles through long zooming pans, extreme close ups and sonic captures the installation and accompanying performances as an organic (short) lived reality. For this screening program, Middleton pairs his work with material by Len Lye, Richard Sides, Todd McFarlane and music by Korn.
Stuart Middleton (b. 1987 Crewe UK) is an artist based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he is currently studying at the Städelschule. Recent exhibitions include Sad Sketches, Piper Keys, London (solo); The Mechanical Garden and other Long Encores, (w/ Ben Burgis, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides) Dilston Grove, London; By night with torch and spear, Johan Berrgren, Malmø; Suppedaneum, Grand Century, New York. Middleton is a founding member of The Woodmill, an artists collective based in London.


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Material Art Fair

How to Demand the Impossible?

This conversation will be devoted to exhaustion and creation—the various and remarkable ways in which the creative impulses of writers and artists may be stymied, redirected, and revolutionized by instances of social disruption, political crisis, and state violence. Specifically, participants will ask how episodes such as the disappearance of the forty-three Ayotzinapa students may exhaust, challenge, and provoke artists, writers, and citizens; how it might imbue their work with new meaning, or impel them to work differently.

Other Editions