Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Opening at the Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 3 March - 4 April

There Was an Old Lady

(Films in a pecking order based on the nursery rhyme):

fly / Douglas Gordon
fly / Lucy Powell
spiders / Anri Sala
snail and worm / Ulrike Heise
sea horses / Jean Painlevé
frogs / Henrik Håkansson
octopuses / Jean Painlevé
newt /John Smith
finches / Carsten Höller
crow and pigeon / Julieta Aranda
chicken / Lucy Powell
ducks / Franz Stauffenberg
sloth / Christoph Keller
pussy / Fischli/Weiss
monkey / Christoph Keller
deer /Franz Stauffenberg
donkeys / Douglas Gordon
horse / Anri Sala
bears / Werner Herzog
buffalo / Massimiliano and Nina Breeder
elephant / Douglas Gordon
rhinoceros / Christoph Keller
lioness / Nina Pohl and Patricia Woerler-Horzon


Is it possible to employ an animal as a readymade?

These films, selected by April Lamm, demonstrate the quasi-scientific mind of the artists in the act of observing animals – as if the news program “No Comment” were to focus its lens on the animal kingdom. Combined in a two-hour loop, the order of the films is based upon the nursery rhyme and memory game “There Was an Old Lady.”
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die. There was an old lady who swallowed a spider that wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she'll die. There was an old lady who swallowed a bird. How absurd to swallow a bird …

Like a monitor playing the “breaking news” in a bar, the concatenation of animal films does not demand the visitor’s complete concentration; rather the situation provides an opportunity for some much-longed for slowness, or, in local parlance, a sing-along. There will also be musical intervals including “The Labyrinth Scored for 11 Different Cats” by Terry Fox and Marcel Broodthaers’s “Interview with a Cat.” Guest host Rocky the turtle will be present, albeit on the quiet side.

Additionally, a catalogue will be published by Sternberg Press, gathering together absurd animal stories collected by Clara Meister and other nonsensical things edited by April Lamm and designed by Quentin Walesh.

There was Douglas Gordon who swallowed a fly. I don't know why he swallowed a fly. Perhaps he'll die. There was Lucy Powell who swallowed Douglas Gordon and his fly. I don't know why she too swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die. There was Anri Sala who swallowed Lucy Powell and a spider that wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her who swallowed the fly hitting the camera rim (how dim!). There was Franz Stauffenberg who swallowed a nutty duck who swallowed a hypnotized chicken just to eat the wriggly spider inside her. Then there was Carsten Höller and Julieta Aranda, who swallowed some birds and some birds that swallowed some birds. How absurds (!) those birds, who chanced upon Ulrike Heise and the worm (and snail!) that squirmed. There was Henrik Håkansson who swallowed a frog not on a log, thank dog, which was swallowed by Fischli/Weiss who swallowed a cat. Imagine that(!) to swallow a cat. Perhaps they'll die. There was April Lamm who swallowed a dog. What a hog(!) curator to swallow a dog to swallow a cat to swallow those absurd bird-eating-birds and a frog! But what happened to John Smith’s newt? How astute not to swallow that newt, being Big and all. There was Christoph Keller who swallowed a sloth to swallow the monkey who would swallow the dog-hog and that was all too much so he puked up Anri Sala who had swallowed a horse, who had swallowed Franz Stauffenberg fat from his deer and puked up Douglas Gordon who then swallowed a donkey. Werner Herzog came to the rescue by swallowing some pooping bear who swallowed Massimilian and Nina Breeder who swallowed a slow buffalo who swallowed Nina Pohl in her ever-changing role and Patricia Woerler who swallowed a lioness tail twirler or was it the other way around? But who swallowed the rhinoceros, how preposterous (!) or the elephant? Surely not the turtle (turtle? Clara Meister, the tell-a-tall-tale turtle? No, that doesn’t rhyme even for a dime!) so surely, that’s not what we meant, Mr Elephant, how forgetful of you….

No comments: