The Exhibition Tower

Exhibition Catalogue published in 2018.

The Exhibition Tower is a publication that features a series of four exhibitions staged inside a scale model of a tower designed by OMA for Lafayette Anticipations in Paris. The exhibition catalogue focuses on the concept of an 18-metre-high void and architectural/curatorial flexibility. The central question throughout the publication is what OMA’s design offers its prospective exhibitioners. Is it just mobile, or does it actually mobilise something? The editorial essay Animating the Ghost Sonata draws a parallel between the tower’s design and a 1907 screenplay by August Strindberg that is about expectations, dreams and house rules. All exhibitions took place behind the closed door of a studio at the Van Eyck academy in Maastricht. The catalogue therefore is not a keepsake but the only form in which the work ever existed.

With works and texts by: Stéphanie Lagarde, Graham Kelly, GVN908 and Golnar Abbasi. Essay: Animating The Ghost Sonata, Brenda Tempelaar. Preface: Lex ter Braak. Graphic design: Christophe Clarijs. Photography: Romy Finke. Copy editing: Daniel Vorthuys, Vincent van Velsen. Printer: Cassochrome Pages: 120g Lessebo – paperback, 88p, 22 x 28 cm – otabind. Language: English. ISBN: 978-90-828111-0-0. Price: € 22,50 incl. 6% BTW

All future springs – Stéphanie Lagarde

'All future springs' is a four-act play with Father, Son, Sorceress and Chorus as its main characters, interpreting a conversation made of whistling languages, collected in Alaska, Canary Islands, France, Mexico, Amazonia and Laos. In a sound and video installation, the work deconstructs and re-edits a poetical/political communication tool for survival. In this adaptation of the work, The Exhibition Tower is used as a model to simulate the installation of All Future Springs in a three-floor venue. The installation exists simultaneously in the scaleless dimensions of mountain landscapes and the 1:1, or the human scale. Depending on the spectator's preferred focus, one could be looking at a simulated monumental décor, made up of artificial reliefs and mountains with video projections and sound installations, or at a shelf inhabited by plants, clothes and digital objects. Both scales disrupt the perception of the other one, which has an effect on The Exhibition Tower as well: its intended readability as a scale model is interrupted by the presence of a piece of shelf-like furniture.

Serkis, reaction – Graham Kelly

The video installation 'Serkis, reaction' is part of a series by Graham Kelly in which a car rear-view mirror reflects the context it is given. The rear-view mirror is mounted on a wall and reflects a model of The Exhibition Tower. At set intervals, footage of an actor performing different facial expressions appears within the reflection. The sensors on his face capture its motion to mimic the human physique in the digitally animated 2005 King Kong film. In this moment that the actual human expression is translated into a digital representation, Kelly edits the gaze of the viewer into a compound of representations neither exclusively corporeal nor entirely virtual. The proposal for the building and the proposal for a digital human expression familiarise us with the forthcoming, the moment in which they will both be cut from the human body and will have become untouchable. The moment the actor's movements show in the mirror the viewer is actively made part of a spatial narrative written as the history of the future, a style more commonly known as fiction.

My life sucks – GVN908

'My life sucks' welcomes The Exhibition Tower by means of a festive opening ceremony, hosted by an inflatable smiley-face that obediently floats in the direction of the wind. This shopping mall icon and Olympics milestone highlights the festivity of anticipation by bathing in a fluorescent blue tech-light and uttering both comprehensible and incomprehensible complaints about its quality of life. This overlooked figure in consumption society does whatever it takes to entertain its audience but at the same time it reminds us that even gallery lights go out at night. It bounces off the grid every now and then but it must always come back to its initial form – lifeless and flat. The inflatable marks the moment in which the building's transformation of the warehouse into an event-driven hotspot is completed. It creates a public ceremony in which its voice represents the muted narratives in the building's history.

Proposition d'habitation – Golnar Abbasi

The Exhibition Tower hosts two videos curated by Golnar Abbasi, screened simultaneously. The first is Proposition d'habitation (1992), a performance by Absalon (Meir Eshel) in his living unit in a gallery space. The space is reduced to the most essential functions of a house and brings the artist to isolation and introspection. The video depicts a table and chair, a cupboard that is also a bed and a tub and day-to-day activities performed by the artist. All the architectural elements are based on a geometrical shape such as a cylinder or a square. The space dictates his actions and restricts the movements of his body. The domesticity proposed by Absalon is not sedentary but alternative and mobile. The second video is a compilation of footage that features gallery visitors looking at a collection of Absalon's living units, exhibited after his death. The Exhibition Tower serves as a stand for the beamers projecting the two videos. The installation reflects on the entanglement of artistic production, exhibition spaces and the domestic activities of the artist.