Matias Faldbakken

Astrup Fearnley Museet
Strandpromenaden 2
September 22–January 28

View of “Matias Faldbakken: Effects of Good Government in the Pit,” 2017–18.

In Matias Faldbakken’s latest exhibition of sculptures, paintings, and installations, a speculative future universe—where the virtual world is impossible to distinguish from the real—is offered. The simulated perhaps isn’t what one might associate with some of the brutal objects here, including Untitled (Locker Sculpture #06), 2017—several lockers strapped together with lever straps, bending the hard metal––and the four heavy concrete sculptures in Television Sculpture #1–4, 2011. Yet the three large walls covered in domestic tiles (Tile Sculpture #1–#3, all 2017) force one to encounter the virtual in a profound way, which becomes quite clear with the looping film Never Come Down, 2017. This piece is presented on a pixel-pitch screen, a high-resolution LED display. In the work, an appropriated video meme that went viral among Trump supporters is altered so that the president’s head has been cropped out. In between the images and loud sounds, the pixels of the screen become visible. They expose a grid that recalls the tiled walls, and together, the two works generate an architectonic environment where digital reality exceeds the surface of the screen. As a whole, the exhibition evokes what Gilbert Simondon once referred to as an “associated milieu”—a setting where the natural and technological worlds are metaphorically morphed, allowing for the critical exploration of the existence and formation of life.

Sara R. Yazdani

“Binet, Divola, & Stoerchle”

Rua da Alegria 41C
November 30, 2017–January 20, 2018

Wolfgang Stoerchle, Wolf’s Master of Fine Arts Show, 1970, 8 mm transferred to digital video, black-and-white, silent, 3 minutes 32 seconds.

Before he became an essential figure of the 1970s Southern California art scene and professor in the legendary Post-Studio program at CalArts, Wolfgang Stoerchle studied painting at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). There, he experimented with a series of performances and videotapes prior to receiving his MFA in 1970. Last year, Alice Dusapin, one of the founders of this cooperative space, unearthed from the artist’s effects a handful of 8-mm films he made during his time at UCSB. In one of the more notable works from this cache, Wolf’s Master of Fine Arts Show, 1970, he jumps through plaster panels and collides with sculptures of his own. And in the archival footage Wolf, Wayne, Robert, eating apples, laughing, 1970, he and two friends appear to break into fits of laughter after eating fruits. Now digitized, these and other films are here either projected upstairs or shown on two TV monitors downstairs. The exhibition is a timely exercise in tiding audiences over, before an upcoming monograph on Stoerchle’s work is published in 2019, as well as an opportune moment to have archival pieces in conversation with the works of two other, living artists.

Next to the monitors are two abstract, black-and-white landscape photographs showing derelict sites with spray-painted marks of shadow and light, both from the 1974 “Vandalism” series by John Divola, a California native and contemporary of Stoerchle. Also hung downstairs are three paintings by Jonathan Binet, two of which are large wooden stretchers with broken panels of painted wood and strips of fabric attached to them (both Untitled, 2017). It is not difficult to imagine Stoerchle running through them.

In its emphasis on objects themselves, the exhibition succeeds in organizing what would seem to be marginal parts of varied artistic histories and narratives into a full statement.

Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva

“Quote / Unquote. Between Appropriation and Dialogue”

Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)
Av. Brasília, Central Tejo
October 4–February 5

Diogo Pimentão, Documented (Belong #11), 2014, graphite on paper, 47 1/4 x 63 x 9".

In these times of discussing renewable energy, where better to house an exhibition on citation as artistic strategy—the recycling and recuperation of content, in other words—than a former power plant? As part of Lisbon’s Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology, the Tejo Power Station ranks among modernity’s most striking monuments, and if it has long been an ideal site to consider the appropriation and reclamation of images, texts, and ideas, such investigations have taken on even more urgency as of late.

Noé Sendas looks at echoes in art-historical contexts when he brings self-portraits of well-known artists together in photo collages: In Picasso & Degas, Raphael & Warhol, Warhol & Sousa, and Nauman & Goya, all 2007, Sendas unites different artistic approaches and periods of time. A high point of this show, which predominantly features work by Portuguese artists, is Documented (Belong #11), 2014, by Diogo Pimentão, for which the artist has reconditioned what appears to be a thick metal sheet into a wave. The darkly shimmering surface of the wall-mounted sculpture recalls Minimalism’s formal experiments. Closer observation, however, reveals that the object is made of paper treated so intensively with graphite that it has acquired a metallic sheen.

Ultimately, the numerous, deft references populating “Quote/Unquote,” and its focus on the many artistic strategies of handling existing images, texts, and ideas, illuminate the capacities of art exhibited in a power station––as motor and driving force, as an ever-revolving energy.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.

Franz Thalmair