donderdag 28 januari 2010

HTV Highlights: issue 68 VOC

This year arts magazine HTV de IJsberg celebrates its 15th anniversary. I joined the editorial staff in 2004 and I want to present some highlights from my personal HTV archives. In random order. Issue #68 VOC dates from march-april 2007 and was made with guest-editors BAVO.
We had a private launch party for the happy few of HTV on a boat roaming the canals of the Amsterdam 'grachtengordel' elite. However, we did join our broad audience of readers by making a film at Art Amsterdam art fair where we presented issue 68 too.

My contribution for this issue was a review on Ariel Schlesinger.

[Title] Blowing soap bubbles

[Author] Karin Bos

[Words] 317


Balkenende is probably still regretting his remark on our fantastic VOC mentality of the old days when everything was so much better than today. His temporary blind spot for exploitation and slave trading has haunted him for quite a while. The fuss it created reminds me of an intriguing piece of art by the young artist Ariel Schlesinger (1980, Israel). It is called Bubble Machine and was recently on view at Galleria Klerkx in Milan.

Bubble Machine (2006) is a low-tech bricolage installation created out of a whole bunch of materials and recycled goods: wood, electric drill, ladder, soap, cooking gas, grill, transformer, stool, and glass. From the top of this Bubble Machine small soap bubbles escape in a rhythmic fashion. Just when you’re off guard admiring the beautiful soap bubbles, dreaming away to happy childhood memories, it hits you right in the face. The bubbles are filled with gas, so they explode when they hit the grill below. A nasty wakeup call, a reminder that not everyone’s childhood is a peaceful experience.

The gas and the exploding bubbles on the grill are provocations that engage us to think about the social-political role of art in our society. The use of soap raises questions as well. Soap is used for cleaning up, to wash one’s hands in innocence. But Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club taught us that soap could also be the main ingredient of home-made explosives. And, according to Durden, the best soap is made with human fat, preferably stolen from a liposuction clinic, so rich ladies buy back their own behinds when they buy this ‘magnificent’ soap.
Those shopping ladies don’t know it yet, Balkenende probably has realized it by now, and Ariel Schlesinger shows it to us with his Bubble Machine: There’s a downside to most things that look good at first glance.

Karin Bos 2007

Ariel Schlesinger, Bubble Machine, 2006, courtesy Artists' Studio, Milan

Ariel Schlesinger, Bubble Machine, 2006, courtesy Klerkx, Milan

Robin Brouwer interviewing me as one of the exhibiting artists at Art Amsterdam 2007.