Afterthoughts from visiting the contemporary art festival, ART IST KUKU NU UT in Tartu, Estonia. Open from 15.09. to 15.11. 2011. For Norwegian text, scroll down.
Art Must Be Beautiful. Exhibition with works by Marina Abramović at Tartu Art Museum.
Foaming spit blended with pieces of half-chewed onion runs down Marina Abramović´chin in her piece The Onion (1996). The video shows a close up of her beautiful and aged face suffering from the pain it takes to eat a raw onion. At the same time we can hear her mutter;
I’m tired of changing planes so often, waiting in the waiting rooms, bus-stations, train-stations, airports. I am tired of waiting for endless passport controls. Fast shopping in shopping malls. I am tired of more career decisions: museum and gallery openings, endless receptions, standing around with a glass of plain water, pretending that I am interested in conversation. I am tired of my migraine attacks. Lonely hotel room, room service, long distance telephone calls, bad TV movies. I am tired of always falling in love with the wrong man. I am tired of being ashamed of my nose being too big, of my ass being too large, ashamed about the war in Yugoslavia. I want to go away.
Abramović´ art is for me countless attempts with redefining femininity through bodily presence. There is a crack, a crack in everything, that is where the light gets in, Leonard Cohen sings. The sentence appears in my consciousness when I am digesting the exhibition together with the other impressions from Tartu. The intensity in Abramović´s art is to show her own incompleteness, and how she is striving with accepting herself. She is stunningly beautiful, but always falls in love with the wrong man, and apparently she has taken several plastic surgery operations lately.
One could ask whether there lies a contradiction in her feministic approach and her self-obsessed works? I am thinking that this mistake, the vanity, her weak point, makes her such an interesting and successful artist. The awareness of her own beauty is the driving power in many of her pieces. The Hero (2001), dressed in black, she is sitting on a white horse holding a white flag that floats in the wind. Who is it she wants to make peace with, and why?
The work that also holds the title of the exhibition, Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful (1975) shows a naked, young Abramović combing her hair with frenetic energy, whilst repeating to herself these two declarations again and again. In the video where she is eating the onion her beauty is abjected out of her body. The curse, the reason why she always fall in love with the wrong man gutters out of her eyes as bitter tears, but repeatedly choking on the onion she coercively continues to eat. This insane mixture of beauty and the grotesque makes Abramović´s art to an attraction and shows how the dualistic battle in our own culture that divides mind and body, man and woman, good and evil, is not happening between two sides (me and you, us and the others) but is a deeply twisted conflict in the subject´s fight with herself.
Põhjamaade Paviljon. Ytter participate at ART IST KUKU NU UT 2011.
In the beginning were the words; ART IST KUKU NU UT. A contemporary art-festival in Tartu, the city that lies deep inside the Estonian forest, where the river Emajõgi floats with no haste, like a swelled atrium, the front court of the heart. Apparently Tartu is a small sleepy town that you only reach after a two and a half hours bus drive from Tallin, the capital of Estonia.
ART IST KUKU NU UT has the ambition to speed up the pulse of the city by injecting contemporary art from national and international artists into its vains.
Ytter were invited by Rael Artel og Kaisa Eiche, the curators of ART IST KUKU NU UT, to participate in the festival with a seminar about the role of the curator versus the role of the artist. This resulted in a Nordic Pavilion, a Põhjamaade Paviljon, in Gallerii Noorus. We brought and mounted our pink parachute and made an exhibition with post-capitalistic works that underlined an atmosphere of Eutopia. In this space, the Nordic Pavilion, where it was good to be, artists and curators from Baltic, European and Nordic countries were gathered to give presentations and conversate with each other. Egg and bacon was fried on a Saturday morning for the guests that arrived both Tartu and Ytter at this specific occasion.