Magazine article Artforum International

Charlemagne Palestine. (Reviews)

Magazine article Artforum International

Charlemagne Palestine. (Reviews)

Article excerpt

GALERIE DAMASQUINE

Charlemagne Palestine is a pioneer of experimental and minimalist music (with recent discs on the Alga Marghen and Barooni labels) as well as video art. But he is also known for his sculptural detournement of stuffed animals. This last obsession has led some--particularly young artists enamored of electronic music--to believe that he is the unjustly overlooked inspiration for the stuffed-animal work of one Mike Kelley. But to emphasize the connection would be to misunderstand Kelley's intellectualism as much as the obsession that haunts Palestine; above all it would be to ignore the quasi universality of the material itself. For Kelley, stuffed animals are the equivalent of symptoms; for Palestine, they are extensions of himself, incarnations of his "spirituality."

Paradoxically, it is probably the success of Kelley's work that has led to Palestine's being reconsidered today--so why complain? Palestine now lives in Brussels and recently presented two remarkable installations of the aforementioned toys. Last September, in the context of a group exhibition on the industrial site of the nonprofit Tour & Taxi, he arranged D Day P Day, 2001, a hilarious tableau of stuffed parachutists. More recently, at Damasquine, the central piece, Etoile d'Amour for Harry, 2002, was a saraband of rocking chairs suspended from the ceiling on which pairs of large multicolored teddy bears--Elmer and Ducky, Janos and Shaan, and Gauch and Pedro--seemed carried away by speed. …

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