A person doesn´t always know what She is longing for

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.

Continue reading A person doesn´t always know what She is longing for

Põhjamaade Paviljon (part 2)

Following images are from the Seminar at the Nordic Pavilion and The Hung-over Brunch Saturday 17th of September 2011 in Tartu, Estonia.

The seminar was about the relations between curators and artists, arranged by Ytter in collaboration with ART IST KUKU NU UT, with the speakers:

Rael Artel (curator and art historian/Estonia), Neringa Cerniauskaite (art critic, curator, and editor / Lithuania), Marie Nerland (curator and artist /Norway), Anders Härm (curator, art critic and museum director/Estonia), Ali MacGilp (curator and editor/Great Britain), Ytter (artist group and online art magazine/Norway)

The 15th and 16th of September Ytter arranged two conversations between Ytter and Steffen Håndlykken (artist and curator, Institute for Color and 1857/ Norway) Helen Tammemäe (editor of MÛÛRILETH, Estonian paper for arts and culture), Roberto N. Peyre (artist and curator, Blot and the exhibition XISM in Stockholm/ Sweden).

Nordisk Paviljong

The Nordic Pavilion at ART IST KUKU NU UT

Ytter from Bergen have temporarily moved their office to Gallery Noorus, where they initiate The Nordic Pavilion with works by (amongst others) Jacqueline Forzelius, Haukur Már Helgason, a hangover-brunch and a pink parachute as the backdrop for a meeting between Nordic and Baltic artists and curators. Together with the organisers of ART IST KUKU NU UT, Rael Artel and Kaisa Eiche, Ytter will host two public talks and a seminar where the artistic role versus the role of the curator will be discussed, and where they wish to facilitate an exchange of experiences between their Nordic and Baltic guests. Everything takes place inside the Gallery Noorus in Tartu, Tallinn’s beautiful little sister. During the conversations we will talk about our experiences of self-organisation within the field of art and what happens when artistic and curatorial practice becomes more and more “professionalised”. In what way is our artistic integrity affected by power relations artists and curators in between? Is self-organisation in the field of art political art, or is it just an illustration of the method of organisation? 
Ytter has invited Marie Nerland, curator of the Volt (Bergen), Steffen Håndlykken, initiator of Institute for Color and curator of 1857 (Oslo), and Roberto Peyre, curator and initiator of the artist/curatorgroup Blot (Stockholm) as the Nordic representatives in these dialogues between the Nordic and Baltic countries.


September 15, 2 pm: Conversational moment at Noorus Gallery organised by Ytter with Roberto Peyre and Kiwa.

September 15, 5 pm: Opening of the festival ART IST KUKU NU UT and the exhibition Art Must Be Beautiful. Selected Works by Marina Abramović (Amsterdam/New York) in Tartu Art Museum.

September 15,7 pm: Screening of Seven Easy Pieces at Athena cinema.

September 16, 2 pm: Conversational moment at Noorus Gallery organised by Ytter with Steffen Håndlykken, Kaisa Eiche and Helen Tammemäe.

September 16, 2011 at 5 pm: Opening of the Acts of Refusal, an international exhibition guest curated by Ellen Blumenstein & Kathrin Meyer (The Office, Berlin) in Tartu Art House.

September 16, 2011 at 7 pm: Opening of the collective project “Leaving Tartu” by Anna Hints, Eva Labotkin, Marja-Liisa Plats, Toomas Thetloff (Tartu/Tallinn), the winners of KUKU NUNNU production grant in Y Gallery.

September 17, 2011 at 12: Hang-over brunch cooked by Ytter (Bergen), and at 1 pm seminar on relations between curators and artists, organised by Ytter in collaboration with ART IST KUKU NU UT. Participants from Nordic and Baltic region.

PS: After official programme, each night spontanous parties will follow in different clubs and bars in Tartu!