James Krone: Berlin Letter
(prologue – friday, october 21, 8:13 am)
Autumn is beautiful here in Berlin.
I’ve been enjoying it.
How are you?
Busy writing as always, I see.
Any fantastic shows?
I saw a few interesting ones the other day.
I have to run out now to see a friends performance but I’ll write to you about them later.
(wednesday, november 2, 9:09 pm)
I don’t know.
Over the last month I saw a lot of shows by artists I admire or at least am curious about.
I must not be in the mood for being a spectator.
I guess in general, I’m a bit grumpy for art right now. When I’m like that it’s hard to be generous enough to get anything.
This one show had me hooked on its description alone, though.
At Esther Schipper, Pierre Huyghe had installed 50, locally caught, spiders and their attention was focused upon two holes, one in either room, that led to ant colonies which were built into the walls.
I think there were 5,000 ants in each box.
When I walked up to the door of the space, initially, a gallery employee who was sitting outside of the door asked me my name. I told him my name and he opened the door and loudly said, away from me, my name. Another gallery assistant came over and gave out rather friendly (for the gallery) but somewhat irritating docent vibes. We chatted a bit but it turned out that this man was supposed to have the flu but the man who had agreed to have the flu had to go to FIAC, so instead I was left with a healthy person to lead me around, or at the very least shadow me until the point that our conversation dwindled.
It made more sense that he was supposed to be a menacing host, surveying my presence. But he wanted to talk about the well known architect whose office had been there and how renting to the gallery would certainly increase the value of the space over time.
I had mistaken this space as Dieter Roth’s old apartment because of the stone rabbit mosaic outside but that was upstairs a level or two.
I thought the arrangement of ceiling fluorescent bulbs had been part of the previous Ceal Floyer exhibit but they were in fact just part of the galleries general design as the architect, well known but whose name I don’t recall, had designed.
The holes from which the ants were to enter the gallery were where a flat work would have been centered for hanging and not where the nail or screw would have actually gone. Somehow I felt like this was an errant decision. That demarcation of space, center, seems necessarily invisible.
There were bits of catfood on the floor directly below the portals from the ant colony so to lure them out into sight and towards danger.
The spiders had been expected to set up shop in the corners of the ceiling like surveillance cameras but some of them had drifted to the floor corners or the window panes while others had left the gallery, entirely.
It seemed staged that the man pretending to be the man with the flu was somehow more like the predator at home in his web, on surveillance duty, while I was more like the ant wandering into this space, alone, from the exterior colony where my numbers might throb in outnumbering mass.
Like the spiders, as well, temporarily in from the hood, into the space, into my position to survey the little dots appear from and disappear back into the little holes in the walls, centered apertures.
It all makes me think of something I remember Vishnu saying, irritated, as he bitched out a hunter and his prey quarreling over blame in regards to their roles of transgressor and victim. “As everything belongs to eternity and eternity is one then neither the killer nor the killed can you be!”
(epilogue – ad interim)
I think I have a few kind of bad photos I’ll send you from it too.
I felt like writing a bit and dropping you a line.
(afterthought – thursday, november 3, 6:30 am)
I was up late and I wrote to you and then fell asleep.
It’s nice how writing about a show, I think in any manner, brings you closer to it.
I needed to anyhow. I hadn’t felt particularly enthusiastic about much of what I’d seen recently even though there was a lot of quality work.
It must all get incredibly close to you, writing so often.
Do you ever need to take a break from it?
Artlessness as weightlessness?
Esther Schipper website: http://www.estherschipper.com/
James Krone at Kavi Gupta: http://kavigupta.com/artist/jameskrone