Edward Krasiński

Lifeitself-frontLifeItselfcover

Life Itself
Edited by Daniel Birnbaum, Stefanie Hessler, Carsten Höller & Jo Widoff

Anyone undertaking a study of the concept of “life” in our culture will observe that it never gets defined as such, writes Giorgio Agamben. Instead, he claims, this indeterminate thing – life itself – gets articulated and divided time and again through a series of oppositions that give it a function in the sciences without ever being defined as such. These theoretical and literary articulations are what this book is about, and what the 173 texts by authors, scientists and philosophers from all times and all disciplines will try to answer.
Ernst Haeckel, speculative biologist and naturalist, coined key concepts as phylum and ecology. In the years 1899-1904 he published Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature), one hundred prints depicting organisms many of which were first described by Haeckel himself, who with this project took an unusual step from science to art. His sketches thus create a bridge between this book and the exhibition at Moderna Museet, appearing in the margins of both. Otherwise there is no art in this publication and the division of labor strict: the exhibition is art?s chance to answer the topic spelled out in the subtitle to Life Itself: “On the question of what it essentially is; its materialities, its characteristics, considering that attempts to answer this question by occidental sciences and philosophies have proven unsatisfactory.”

Exhibition featured the work of Giovanni Anselmo, Olga Balema, Hicham Berrada, Joseph Beuys, Karl Blossfeldt, Constantin Brancusi, Victor Brauner, Nina Canell, Lygia Clark, Trisha Donnelly, Monica Englund, Valia Fetisov, Dirk Fleischmann, Katharina Fritsch, Ernst Haeckel, Barbara Hauser, Tamara Henderson, Eva Hesse, Damien Hirst, Tehching Hsieh, Pierre Huyghe, Carsten Höller/Rosemarie Trockel, On Kawara, Josh Kline, Hilma af Klint, Edward Krasinski, Mark Leckey, Helen Marten, Henri Michaux, Barnett Newman, Otobong Nkanga, Katja Novitskova, Philippe Parreno, Giuseppe Penone, Leo Reis, Ulf Rollof, Rachel Rose, Anri Sala, Sebastian Stöhrer, Sturtevant, Paul Thek, Rosemarie Trockel, Rosemarie Trockel/Günter Weseler, Christine Ödlund.

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The Artist’s House: From Workplace to Artwork
by Kirsty Bell

The artist’s house is a prism through which to view not only the artistic practice of its inhabitant, but also to apprehend broader developments in sculpture and contemporary art in relation to domestic architecture and interior space. Based on a series of interviews and site visits with living artists about the role of their home in relation to their work, Kirsty Bell looks at the house as receptacle, vehicle, model, theater, or dream space. In-depth analyses of these contemporary examples—including Jorge Pardo, Mirosław Bałka, Danh Vo, Gregor Schneider, Frances Stark, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Paweł Althamer, Mark Leckey, Monika Sosnowska, Gabriel Orozco, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Andrea Zittel—are contextualized by key artists of the twentieth century such as Kurt Schwitters, Alice Neel, Edward Krasiński, Carlo Mollino, and Louise Bourgeois. A two-way flow from the domestic arena to the exhibition space becomes apparent, in which the everyday has a significant role to play in the merging of such developments as installation art, relational aesthetics, expanded collage, and performance art.

Design by Joseph Logan

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