02_tellings-haury1WOTØRWOERLD, Peter Haury & Elke Hammelstein. Inside “dein Klub”: “Deacon”: Jo Schulze; Smoker: Andreas Bär, Rose Huber, Doris Huber, Rupert Huber

In this first Telling, I wish to consider some guided paths connected to works produced specifically for the Shiryaevo Biennial (Russia), “: Between Europe and Asia” 1, which takes place since 1999 every odd year in Shiryaevo, a small village in the region of Samara. Besides having become a summer resort on the Volga river, this village is well-known for having hosted Ilya Repin, the painter of the Volga Barge Haulers (1873) whose house converted into a museum became a touristic spot.
For the Biennial, the artists are invited to work, experiment and exhibit in and for this quite special environment. The Shiryaevo Biennial decided it would be oriented to a concept of process, from the realization of artworks to their installation to their reception. Instead of relying on the model of the guides and docents touring the public through to understand the artworks, they started the Biennial concept with the guided tour as a format. The exhibition works on a planned temporary duration, for which all the works of art are conceived to exist for one large public tour. The invited artists are provided a fifteen-days residency, in which they prepare to take part in this concept of a “nomadic show”. The audience, mostly from Samara and Moscow, arrive by boat in the morning and return in the evening. They are given a map to follow certain predefined paths, going from one place and artwork to the other. At each stop along the path, is a presentation either created by the artist, or simply on the artist and their work. These vary in type, including speeches, explanations, question and answer sessions, translations etc. This method was chosen because of the ground restrictions: first, none of the exhibition places are really closed and safe and most of the artists show their work outside anyway. Then, the audience comes only once for the opening. The organizers wanted the artists not to produce their work and leave. They wanted the artists to be on site while the audience will pass through, in order to explain it to this public who are not all assumed to be knowledgeable concerning contemporary art.
I would like to mention two works using the perspective of this system: WOTØRWOERLD, the project by Peter Haury and Elke Hammelstein in the 2005 edition and Has Straightened, Dmitry Gutov’s performance in 2007.

e02_tellings-gutov1 e02_tellings-gutov2 Has straightened, Dmitry Gutov.

In 2005, during the time of their residency, P. Haury and E. Hammelstein built in different places of the village the “clone”, a small room in which they would then shoot WOTØRWOERLD, a remake of the eschatological movie Waterworld by Kevin Reynolds starring Kevin Costner, a failure infamous for its extravagant costs and delays in production. They would work with anyone who would enter in the clone and deal with each one’s ability in order to improvise with strings and tricks a hilarious collage reconstructing scene by scene the original movie’s huge pictures. In this project, followed up a bit everywhere depending on the participants’ trips, every one involved can recognize the amount of work needed to build what is, at the end, a very abstract sum of joyful incoherency. While the film is the expressed part of the work, the collaboration work with different people matters the most and the “clone” was there to be shown, experimented and explained during the “nomadic show”. In 2007, Dmitry Gutov decided to do a performance during the residency and not during the “nomadic show”. He invited all the other participants for a walk to the top of a hill, where he had constructed a wooden amphitheater. With his back to a small framed picture image of the Venus de Milo, he read a narration by Gleb Uspensky on an aesthetic shock on his character after his discovery of this antique Beauty’s symbol. Then, with the help of a translator, D. Gutov led a debate on the disappearance of such canons in contemporary art and left the village. For diverse reasons, his performance, under the aspect of a lecture, had some impacts on the audience at the time everybody was preparing the “nomadic show”. Following an antique tradition, D. Gutov, managed to make his audience deliver a “telling”.

  1. Directed by Nelya & Roman Korzhovi and Hanns-Michael Rupprechter. I took part to the organization of the 2007 event.


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