Saturday, 15 June 2019

Berlin week of ! May: David Wojnarowicz meets Greta Thunberg. The Bauhaus and in the (in)equalities of Intelligent Design. Frank Wagner remembered.

DW + GT and me at KW  ... about three weeks ago I pushed off to Berlin for two nights (lost attachment if ever there was and, anyway, I loathe attachment theory, lets say the signifiers now have signifieds for me and they are all dull and sheenless objects, mon dieu I hate the signified) but that is a way of thinking about the huge Wojnarowicz show at KW, thankfully without any of his ghastly paintings and far too many ants and, in addition, I never got off on Rimbaud masquerades as a radical gesture, fascinating poet, sexually dull - Verlaine a different class, don't you know? W was a great and intimate writer of irreparable anger and made what were once fascinating 16mm films, which here were digitised and blown up to death, to the level of the consumer spectacle he so despised in his work on the piers. But that is the Berlin of our times, full of dreary and conventional signifieds still masquerading as radical. 

(The Frank Wagner exhibition upstairs showed the work of a great curator and maker of an intensely gay episteme  that now looks historically adrift in the ensemble he helped to set in flow, oh sad entropy, an utterly moving photo of him in Gonzales-Torres curtain that made me long to speak with him again!)

Anyway younger colleagues and friends assure me that this is a great transmission of W so let it be. Although the element of Catholic guilt comes over loud and clear, a kind of clingy-seedy other to the self contented and VERY STRAIGHT/NAUGHTY GLOSS OF ANDRES SERRANO.

Two things, mind you. The video of the guy in the standard squalid downtown apartment getting up in his grubby (Hanes?) Yfronts and making up and dressing up to go out on the street in a cocktail dress now looks lamentably tame, sic transit the glory of old transgressions (btw I never believed in transgression, either). 

And in watching in detail how he does it I witnessed in increasing horror the number of plastic twigs he was using, eyeliner and eye lashes etc etc, and I realised that probably much of that, if it is not still floating in the Atlantic, has probably been ingested by the cod and salmon trout that I eat and is now inside me.

So thanks to Greta Thunberg, the Pauline Converter of our time, I could see that, in some respect, over three decades later, it was as if I had given him a blow job. It really is a case of far too much being the same as far too little and far too late..

Bauhaus a fascinating show, thanks to Grant and Marion, do get the massive catalogue. Wendolien van Oldenburgh at her very best (some good drone shots), a short video of Khader Attia awfully good on the colonial thing and the export of artworks as a kind of slavery, Otolith producing the magisterial and vaguely post colonial version of the national Geographic, but with such marvellous singing and ideas about how to make singing visible that i was ravi!! tout à fait! (also good drone shots, they are becoming legion)

Huge research on the Bauhaus in the world, I wrote two pieces, one in catalogue and one online, which took me usefully back to the more or less un-revisitable, but I have no idea how people will find this in its very elliptical and subtle presentation.

the GT question: In all its international forms what is the Carbon Footprint of this show?

All three shows designed for a fit 42 year old probably white male with perfect eyesight - so much for intelligent design. As a short, older male with varifocals I cannot guarantee the accuracy of anything I saw or seemed to have seen.

No comments: