Monday, July 13, 2009

Matt Stokes: "MARZLIVE" MARZ-Galeria, Lisbon, Portugal




Runs June 27 through July 30, 2009

Rua Reinaldo Ferreira 20 A, 1700-323 Lisbon. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday from midday to 8 pm. / / +351 218 464 446

On June 26th2009, MARZ Galeria will inaugurate “MARZlive”, a program of screen-based “con-certs” that will run parallel to the season of summer music festivals in Portugal. This exhibition will look into the fecund relationship and exchange between contemporary visual artists and music, and seeks to underscore the collaborative practice inherent to the works screened during the course of this five-week long period.

Artists included in this exhibition are: Julian Rosefeldt, Johanna Billing, Matt Stokes, Filmgruppe West (Kai Althoff, Michaela

Eichwald, Ralf Schauff and Jens Wagner) and Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard.

MARZlive presents itself under the guise of a summer festival, and as such, is a celebration of the culture and power of music, and of the festival in its broadest sense as a conduit for the construction of individual and collective identity. At its core, this exhibition aims to show how artists and their continued relationship and rapport with music results from an attitude that is bound to the questioning of artistic autonomy, authority, authorship and the traditional role of the romantic artist as a solitary genius. The works on view, on the most part, belong to an unsettled space of interconnection between art and non-art, art and other disciplines; a space that tests the social boundaries of where, how, with what, and with whom art may be made. Generally speaking, these works, by way of surrogates such as the rock band, the rock concert, the musical, raves and

revellers, are quite radical in their wavering visibility as art, for they can most easily, and therein lies their radicality, be filtered into and confused with other economies, or better yet, other industries or cultural forms (music, music videos, film, documentary). As such, one might venture to say that these works, although inscribed in the logic of the art market, frustrate it at the same time. As a festival-exhibition, the works on view are expected to create a kind of discursive space on the whole. Herein several ideas will be explored, but on the most part, and by way of these

works, witness will be given to the creation of temporary communities. Ultimately, anyone who has immersed in the atmosphere of a live concert senses a certain belonging and rapture, a kind of cohesion that is distinct from the indifference, detachment and individualism of modern day life. The works on view bring to the fore this atmosphere of “coming together” in several of its guises: gawking audiences in a movie theatre in India,

musicians united to record a song in a Swedish recording studio, Northern-Soul dancers in the interior of a Gothic Revival church in Scotland, a quarrelsome band of four from Aachen, and lastly, a vast group of musicians, volunteers and charity workers who gather together to re-

enact a mythic performance by The Cramps. Rather than analyse, evaluate or intentionally give praise to collaboration, this show focuses on the heterogenous methodologies of collaboration and the inherent tension, confrontation, deliberation and negotiation that may rise prior to or during interaction, group activity, exchange and “working together.” “Collaboration” here is adopted as an open-ended concept, an “umbrella term for the diverse working methods that require more than one participant.” The term in the context of this show can be distinguished from “cooperation,” which implies greater detachment and a lesser degree of identification between those who partake, “collective action” which suggests working forms within socialist social systems and “interaction” which is more or less used when referring to man-machine relations. In certain instances, the term “participation” could also be used, for instance, when referring to contexts where the internal or external participant can take part in something someone else has created, and where an opportunity to make an impact is given (as in the case of Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard’s File under sacred Music).i On the whole, MARZlive presents different modes of collaboration. To this effect, the people involved in a large part of the projects on view had the responsibility of following the project and determined, in one way or another, their outcome. In most cases, with the exception of Filmgruppe West, the collaborative work results from informal groupings of people in search of a common denominator. The artist

or artists in these projects takes on the role of the idea-developer, the director, the protagonist and/or the editor and all who have partaken in the work’s creation and execution have been credited. Taking the concept of the festival, MARZlive also calls to mind Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the carnival as a participatory model. For Bakhtin, the individual or egoist (the enemy of the people) could be sacrificed and taken over during the festival, a system where the king is clown. To this effect, festival, the summer festival (and by extension concerts, raves and other musical gatherings) can be seen as a celebration of the victory of the collective body over the individual spirit. Through mimicry, derision, expressiveness,

role reversal and satire these get-togethers provide an escape from the usual social order, and fixed social relations – between different social classes, gender and ethnic groups - are confronted. The parade thus provides a transformative experience, though brief, where alternative moral and aesthetic orders can be envisioned and created.


See Maria Lind, “The Collaborative Turn,” Taking Matter into Common Hands, London, Black Dog, 2007, p. 17.

List of works:

Week 01: Julian Rosefeldt, Lonely Planet, 2006, private view June 26th, 10 pm

on view June 27th and 30th and July 1st and 2nd from midday to 8 pm

Week 02: Johanna Billing, You don’t Love me Yet, 2003, private view July 3rd, 10 pm

on view July 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th from midday to 8 pm

Week 03: Matt Stokes, Long After Tonight, 2005, private view July 10th, 10 pm

on view July 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th from midday to 8 pm

Week 04: Jens Wagner, Michaela Eichwald, Kai Althoff, Ralf Schauff, Aus lauter Haut, 1998-2001, private view July 17th, 10 pm

on view July 18th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd from midday to 8 pm

Week 05: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, File under Sacred Music, 2003, private view July 24th, 10 pm

on view July 25th, 28th, 29th and 30th from midday to 8 pm