“There was just one moon. That familiar, yellow, solitary moon. The same moon that silently floated over fields of pampas grass, the moon that rose–a gleaming, round saucer–over the calm surface of lakes, that tranquilly beamed down on the rooftops of fast-asleep houses. The same moon that brought the high tide to shore, that softly shone on the fur of animals and enveloped and protected travelers at night. The moon that, as a crescent, shaved slivers from the soul–or, as a new moon, silently bathed the earth in its own loneliness. THAT moon.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
“The moon had been observing the earth close-up longer than anyone. It must have witnessed all of the phenomena occurring – and all of the acts carried out – on this earth. But the moon remained silent; it told no stories. All it did was embrace the heavy past with a cool, measured detachment. On the moon there was neither air nor wind. Its vacuum was perfect for preserving memories unscathed. No one could unlock the heart of the moon. Aomame raised her glass to the moon and asked, “Have you gone to bed with someone in your arms lately?”
The moon did not answer.
“Do you have any friends?” she asked.
The moon did not answer.
“Don’t you get tired of always playing it cool?”
The moon did not answer.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
Having spent a lot of the day researching meta-modernism theory I’ve come across many writings and texts on the subject- one of which surrounding today’s ‘newly rediscovered’ moon in the arts. Above I’ve shared some of writer Murakami’s musings on the moon taken from his lastest novel 1Q84, where the moon is a prominent feature.
“The world must be romanticized. In this way its original meaning will be rediscovered. To romanticize is nothing but a qualitative heightening. In this process the lower self becomes identified with a better self. (…) Insofar as I present the commonplace with significance, the ordinary with mystery, the familiar with the seemliness of the unfamiliar and the finite with the semblance of the infinite, I romanticize it.”
Feeling refreshed and inspired after a nice long weekend in Berlin I’m quickly sharing a couple of pieces from exhibitions I saw on the final day of the visit. The works below of Roman Ondák and Michael Sailstorfer both explore the borders between art and everyday life, creating installations which re-examine and dis-place everyday reality and our sense of familiarity.
Roman Ondák, Do not walk outside this area, 2012, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin.
Currently showing at the Deutsche Guggenheim is their ‘Artist of the year’ exhibition, Roman Ondák’s ‘Do not walk outside of this area’. Occupying the whole of the modest sized gallery Ondák displays a number of sculptural installation pieces. The show centers around a piece with the same title (shown in the image above) made specifically for the exhibition. A real life aeroplane wing perfectly occupies one room in the gallery space providing a walkway between two rooms in the gallery. In order to visit the final exhibition space the viewer must walk across the installation, using the wing as a footbridge. This action is somewhat surreal, a displacement of reality, as an object usually seen only whilst in the air through aeroplane windows is suddenly placed within a new context. The viewer becomes a ‘performer’, an essential part of the installation. The artwork is a sculptural experience, an act of participation, conjuring both memory and fantasy, at the same time a psychical and imaginary journey.
Michael Sailstorfer, Forst, 2010, Berlinische Galerie (2012).
Further down town in Berlinische Galerie, Michael Sailstorfer occupies the entrance space with his installation Forst. Within this installation 5 trees hang upside down revolving on their own axes. Sailstorfer brings nature into the white gallery space, yet the trees uprooted, upturned and slowly spinning become strange and mesmerising objects put in this unnatural mechanical context. The simple beauty of the piece lies in the remnants and actions of motion; the circular trails of dead leaves left on the floor, the scuff marks created on one of the pristine white gallery walls, and the marvellous moment when the two trees in the centre of the exhibition meet, the rattle of branches entangling and then de-tangling as they are pulled apart separating to begin their individual rotating journeys once more.
“Banality wrapped in the glow of fascination”
In January, this year, over a three-week period, I began receiving tweets from artist Alice Thickett who was based in Hong Kong at the time. Short and somewhat cryptic, the words, making up sentences resonated something unknown, the strangeness of a foreign land, at times humorous, and other times poetic.These words will inspire and inform a new piece of work, a visual narrative of displacement, reflection of place, and imaginary travel in the format of a video piece. The work is at present unmade and will develop other the coming months to be shown in a group exhibition, ‘It is always happening outside the frame’ in the Autumn. The exhibition will feature a selection of artists making artwork inspired by an outside influence.
“…it is, in its aesthetic dimension, a representation of a mental state of projection that precisely elides the boundaries of the real and the unreal in order to provoke a disturbing ambiguity, a slippage between waking and dreaming”
Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny. (1992)
“Los Angeles is where the relation between reality and representation gets muddled”
Thom Anderson’s fascinating video documentary ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’, made entirely of clips from films, explores the city through its representation in the movies.
Although having not visited the sprawling city of Los Angeles I find it a fascinating place. ‘The home of Hollywood’, this is a title that the city can somewhat not escape. A place were movies are made; the city, it’s surroundings, neighbours and architecture featuring as a backdrop to countless films. It is perhaps impossible to distinguish the reality of the place from it’s fictional depiction within films.