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21 Jan 2009

Acconci / Holmqvist Exhibitions at Argos

The Red Tapes, Vito Acconci, 1977. Courtesy EAI, New York.
I'm with you in Rockland, Karl Holmqvist, 2005.
Courtesy Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin.

Vito Acconci - Language Works: Video, Audio, Poetry / Karl Holmqvist - 'I'm with you in Rockland'


27 January – 11 April 2009

Saturday 24 January, 6pm - 9pm

+32 2 229 0003
+32 2 223 73 31

Werfstraat 13 rue du Chantier
1000 Brussels,

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Vito Acconci - Language Works: Video, Audio, Poetry

The work of Vito Acconci (b. 1940) treats in a critical, now and then even playful, way aspects of identity politics – the 'self' as a social construct; it is characterised by self-driven research into the relationship between artist and viewer, into how individual and social space are related to one another. The all-encompassing exhibition offers an insight into the practice that this influential artist carried-out in the 1970s, this from the viewpoint of the place that takes language as a catalysing impulse. That is thereby the centre of gravity that shapes Acconci's conceptual, performance-based videos and audio works, wherein he executes an intense dialogue between his body and psyche, the 'I' and the 'you', the public and private space, in the form of stream-of-consciousness monologues. This historic, groundbreaking body of work, distinguished by an unusually psychodramatic intensity, is supplemented in this exhibition by graphic transcriptions of audio works and early poetry works. In these works the physical materialisation of language is central, achieved through means of syntactical experiments and typographical permutations. From the 1980s onwards Acconci's practice shifted in the direction of sculptural interventions and urban projects, progressing his interest in the human body and its relationship to the public space. Connected therewith is a surprising listening space that the artist was contracted to design for the exhibition.

Vito Acconci – From Word to Action to Architecture
18 February 2009, 8.30pm

Starting out from the language-based works exhibited at Argos, Vito Acconci is giving a talk on his work, from poetry through video and performance art to architecture and design. It seems that the step from one medium to the next is not such a big one – the focus is always on language and body in relation to space.

Kaaistudios – Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Vaakstraat 81 Rue Notre-Dame du Sommeil, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Karl Holmqvist - I'm with you in Rockland

The work of Karl Holmqvist (b.1964) revolves around inter-human communication, experiments with language in all its aspects, and texts that he presents in printed as well as sonic form. In his performances and videos both the spoken and written word feature centrally. In his works Holmqvist often refers to other artists and figures extracted from popular culture, in particular to the world of rock and pop, as well as religion and politics. As a contemporary counterpart to Vito Acconci's historically important language based oeuvre that is being shown in parallel, Argos presents Holmqvist's 'I'm with you in Rockland', a video work that is exclusively composed of a black image with white subtitles, where the artist on the soundtrack navigates between extraneous quotes extracted from the media and pop culture. The text-based piece openly refers to Allen Ginsberg's well-known poem 'Howl' from 1955 (in which the third part has the same title) and adds elements from popular culture together in a way that closely relates to slam poetry. 'I'm With You in Rockland' stimulates, asking the viewer to take an active position; depending on the frame of reference of the recipient the words come across as alternately serious, funny, and moving.

Karl Holmqvist – You Blew Up my House
13 February 2009, 10pm

A spoken word reading that mixes pop culture with song lyrics and political slogans. This text was first written by Holmqvist for The Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon (London, October 2008) where artists were encouraged to present manifestoes for the 21st century.

Kaaistudio's, Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Vaakstraat 81 Rue Notre-Dame du Sommeil, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

The lecture and performance are organised in collaboration with the Kaaitheater within the context of Performatik 09.