100 Beautiful Jokes
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2014
In the performance 100 Beautiful Jokes, Michael Portnoy proposes a new breed of joke. Rather than simply a means to laughter, the artist imagines the joke to be a thing of rare, complicated beauty to linger over and be emotionally transported by; something that makes you shudder for reasons slightly beyond reach.
Portnoy performs one beautiful joke every three minutes for five hours, accompanied by a lush cinematic soundtrack. The material for these highly abstract jokes is derived from a collection of his original texts, scores and lexicons, transmitted to him throughout the show. Both verbally and physically, Portnoy navigates through a landscape of prompts and source information, and uses that to channel and compose the script on the spot.
This project continues Portnoy's long-term exploration of the poetic potential of jokes, which he has explored in many media, from the written word, to installation, pedagogy, dance and conferences with humor theorists.
Curated By Hendrik Folkerts
All images by Ernst van Deursen
for trailer: http://vimeo.com/99394103
6 trench coats on canvas, 6 short films
Nuit Blanche, Paris
Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam
What are the war cries of Neo-Formalism? Are there any? Or are its fighters and agents doggedly anti-dogmatic?
THRILLOCHROMES imagines a subterranean world where such overblown directives (Dismantle... ! Infiltrate... !) are the scores for a collection of trench-coated operatives in a series of abstract thriller films which lead to the creation of excruciatingly beige monochromes.
The show consists of six monochromes and six corresponding short films playing on tropes of TV procedurals and espionage films. Accompanying the show is an artist publication with texts by Tirdad Zolghadr and Diane Bent commenting on the phenomena of the contemporary monochrome and the blood battle between hermeneutics and hermeticism.
The six short films, commissioned by Ville de Paris for Nuit Blanches 2013, were shot in the WWII bunkers beneath Gare de l'Est. The series continues Portnoy's recent interest in "improving", in the manner of an engineer/futurologist, recent dead-ends of contemporary art making. In this case the metastasis of textural abstraction and quasi-monochromes.
for trailer: ttp://vimeo.com/76771102
Review in Artforum, Feb 2014
‘Where’s the fucking stipend?’ read the postcard delivered to the artists Edward and Fanny Wadsworth.1 They had been supporting Wyndham Lewis with a monthly allowance throughout 1924, and the money had not turned up. Spiteful gestures were the quarrelsome Vorticist’s stock-in-trade: he was ungrateful, uncouth – jump ahead four decades and you might even say ‘unprofessional’. According to the rubric laid down in 1969 by Gilbert and George in ‘The Laws of the Sculptors’, artists should ‘always be smartly dressed, well-groomed, relaxed, friendly, polite and in complete control’.
Leap forward in time again to north-east London, 2009. Forty years on from provoking the flower children with their smartly tailored suits, metallic faces and lost nights with a bottle of mother’s ruin, every evening Gilbert and George walk past the end of my street, marching the three miles between their home in Spitalfields and the Mangal II Turkish restaurant in Dalston, where they sit at the same table for their dinner. Whenever I catch a glimpse of them, I can’t help thinking that their look – that of respectable English gentlemen, commonly taken to be an ironic counterpoint to the sexual and scatological themes of their work – appears to communicate a sincere statement of intent: of always being ‘on’, still 100 percent committed to a total life project begun in the 1960s. I wonder what they make of today’s contemporary art scene compared with that of their art school days. Despite the astronomical price of property, the east London they inhabit is reportedly home to the highest density of artists in Europe: there are some 54 galleries in this part of the city alone (for the last ten years, a sign painted by students in the style of Bob and Roberta Smith and affixed to a house on east London’s Hackney Road has declared that ‘EAST IS THE NEW WEST’). London is also, of course, home to Tate Modern, one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, and every autumn the city hosts a number of high-profile art fairs: Frieze, Zoo, Scope. This year may turn out to be the year in which gallery closings are the new openings and ‘told you so’ schadenfreude is the new market optimism. But could Gilbert and George, as young men at St Martin’s School of Art in the late 1960s, have imagined a time such as now, when the word ‘creative’ is used more as a job title than as an adjective?
-READ MORE: http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/a_serious_business/