Ellen Mara De Wachter

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: De Novo – Things repeat themselves

One of the most powerful works made for Daniel Birnbaum’s Venice Biennale exhibition, Making Worlds, is a film by French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. It works because it addresses one of the fundamental questions of artistic creation – repetition – with candid, self-critical humanity. It is clear and modest; qualities that Gonzalez-Foerster’s slightly overwrought Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern lacked, with its anxious theatricality. This is the fifth time Gonzalez-Foerster has been invited to be part of the Venice Biennale, and in De novo, she films herself talking about her successive returns to the oldest and grandest periodic exhibition. As though fulfilling an irresistible Nietzschean prophecy, her eternal return to the Venice Biennale led her to a state of deep resentment and stagnation. In her low-key croaky voice, she reveals her frustration and paralysis in the face of a compulsion to make new works, always different but always authentic, as well as the resulting cynicism and perversity that engendered a series of works amounting to nothing more than black holes: a chaotic scribble in which any word might be made out one, including the title of Utopia Station (the show it was commissioned for) or an installation so dark that it repulsed all but the most resilient of viewers, who, once their eyes had adjusted to the absence of light, were treated to the manifestation of an even darker shade of black. The confessional tone of the video – echoing so many diary rooms and lengths of informal footage – and the lucidity of Gonzalez-Foerster’s admissions of cynicism offer proof by counter-example that recursive artistic processes don’t always lead to black holes.More seriality and compulsive repetition in the Biennale:

Ivan Navarro’s Death Row

Ming Wong’s In the Love for Mood

More of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirrors

More of Bruce Nauman’s hand casts

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2009 by .
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