ARS 06: Kiasma

By Simon, Amy | Artforum International, April 2006 | Go to article overview

ARS 06: Kiasma


Simon, Amy, Artforum International


Unlike the Technicolor world in The Wizard of Oz, where good ultimately outweighs evil, ARS 06 ("Sense of the Real"), the seventh in a series of international exhibitions held in Helsinki since 1961, has given way to the dark side. The sometimes surreal fantasy worlds in many of the artworks presented appear as a mere backdrop for the harsher realities of the present and future, allowing the viewer a false sense of security. Although thematically the link between the one hundred artworks by forty artists has to do with, according to a wall text, "what art says about the world and humanity," the emotional aspects of destruction, isolation, and plain old creepiness have an overwhelming power throughout.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The inclusion of Jake and Dinos Chapman's sculpture Sex I, 2003, and their "Disasters of War" etchings, 1999, seems to set a tone by which the other works can be measured, drawing the audience in while a horrified fascination takes over. A similar sensation, with an added touch of repulsion, can be found in the contributions from Berlinde de Bruyckere, whose wax and epoxy male figures Jelle Luipaard I and Jelle Luipaard II, both 2004-2005, are suspended from rusted iron construction beams, recalling the crucifixion while taking the human form to extremes of distortion. Kent Henricksen's work uses eighteenth-century-style tapestry fabrics patterned with scenes of repose and flirtation, "redrawing" them with impeccable embroidery. By disguising the figures with hoods, innocence becomes oppressor and oppressed in a sadomasochistic tableau.

Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz's "12 Works from the Series Traveler," 2004-2005, depicts fairy-tale images from city dwellers' nightmares of the woods--being lost, frozen, attacked by men in overalls, etc. …

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