ST. LOUIS, MO.-
The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
opens a new season of The Front Room. Running alongside the Main Galleries, The Front Room operates at a different rhythm, with exhibitions lasting anywhere from a day to a few weeks. These reactive, nimble, provisional, and experimental exhibitions test the boundaries of conventional programming and echo the elasticity of contemporary culture.
The upcoming Front Room season features exhibitions by:
Fia Backström (January 23 February 8)
Denying both categorization and characterization, New York-based Swedish artist Fia Backströms work explores the commodification of contemporary art practice. As well as producing printed materials and merchandise-base objects, Backström writes texts, appropriates images, and initiates gatherings and events which bring the commercial backbone of the gallery industry to the forefront. Backström inaugurates this seasons Front Room with a new installation.
Sean Snyder (January 23 April 19)
Drawn from the media, press agencies, databases, and archives, Snyders films, texts, and photographic images consider the global circulation of information and the continuous evolution of its interpretations. Taking the 1964 Soviet documentary film Noble Impulses of Soul as its subject, Snyders film Exhibition (2008) examines the social conventions of art and the universal aesthetic experience. Exhibition remains on view for the entire season of The Front Room.
Sung Hwan Kim & Clemens von Wedemeyer & Alix Pearlstein & Sven Augustijnen (with Auguste Orts) & Aurélien Froment (February 11 22)
Projected one-at-a-time over the course of two weeks, the works of these five artists point to the intersection of film and performance:
Simultaneously taking on the roles of director, performer, editor, composer, and narrator, Korean artist Sung Hwan Kim
creates dreamlike videos which examine misremembered information and the subjective nature of history. Kim disrupts any linear projection through the use of sharp editing and illogical sequencing, while maintaining a loose narrative structure and aesthetic coherence.
German artist Clemens von Wedemeyer
addresses the absurdity of socio historical phenomena by appropriating classic films, along with research material and documentary footage. Big Business (2002), a remake of the 1929 Laurel and Hardy comedy, follows the harebrained escapades of two salesmenplayed by prison inmateswho manage to demolish a house and wreck a car.
Existing in a realm between theater, cinema, and reality television, Alix Pearlstein
s dramatic video installations cast a spotlight on the savagery of primary human instincts and interaction. In Goldrush (2008), Perarlstein features eight unscripted individuals (including herself) who grab at, tear apart, and scrap over a single sheet of foam core.
Belgian artist Sven Augustijnen
s film LEcole des Pickpockets (2000), observes the teachings of two master petty-thefts on the invisible sleights-of-handa true work of an artist. Appealing to our voyeuristic nature, the camera follows its subjects closely, yet the documentary-style presentation of this clandestine lesson leaves the viewer struggling to distinguish between fact and fiction.
French artist Aurélien Froment
s diverse range of work includes films, photographs, manuals, and other objectbased installation. Addressing our ability to process the image-saturated world that surrounds us, Froment uses a careful balance of revelation and concealment to confuse our recognition of images and their combined associations. Employing the spectacle of magic, Theatre de Poche (2007) addresses the constant reshuffling of our field of vision, and reveals the trickery behind the image making process.
Evas Arche und der Feminist (carte blanche) (February 25 - March 8)
Led by co-directors Marlous Borm and Pati Hertling, the ongoing salon Evas Arche und der Feminist, originally based in Berlin, recently found an American home on the second floor of the New York gallery Gavin Browns enterprise. There, they host a series of monthly Sunday-night gatherings, replete with soup, art, performance, and music. With carte-blanche, Evas Arche occupies The Front Room.
Susanne M. Winterling (February 28)
Winterlings mural-sized film projections and still photographs evoke the now forgotten mystique of the cinematic smokescreen and the shadowy fragments of historical narratives. As a friend and collaborator of Evas Arche und der Feminist, Winterling presents her new film in The Front Room.
Hayley Tompkins & Sue Tompkins (March 10 - 22)
Hayley Tompkins intimate abstractionsincluding painted wood constructions, works on paper, and filmform fragmented narratives and compel a haptic experience with the work. Her sister Sue Tompkins, an artist and musician, also based in Glasgow, relies on the spoken and written word in her performances and text-based works on paper. Each artist makes new work for The Front Room.
Florian Pumhösl (March 20-21)
Invested in strategies of appropriation, citation, and montageas well as histories of European, Russian, and Japanese avant-gardesFlorian Pumhösl constructs new referential systems in his 16mm films and animations, as he mediates graphic, painterly, and architectonic tropes. Pumhösl presents recent films in The Front Room.
Tris Vonna-Michell (March 24 April 5)
With a performance and new installation in The Front Room, British artist and storyteller Tris Vonna-Michell presents a dizzying sequence of personal and historical anecdotes, weaving together myth, fantasy, and reality that point to the often fictional construction of history and identity.
William Gass (guest-curator) (April 7-12)
Winner of the 2008 Frieze Writers Prize, William Gass guest-curates an exhibition in The Front Room.
Tom Johnson (April 14-26)
An American artist living in Turin, Tom Johnson produces sculptures, video monologues, and live performances. His introspective artworks explore ideas of intimacy, etiquette, shared public space and the terms of social interaction. He presents a new series of drawings in The Front Room.
Cezary Bodzianowski (April 27 May 3)
Polish flâneur and performance artist Cezary Bodzianowski draws from silent cinema history and the radical gestures of Situationism for his absurdist theatrics. In The Front Room, he presents photographic records of these evanescent slapstick routines.
The Front Room is curated by Laura Fried and Anthony Huberman.