Ivan Argote, Nancy Buchanan, Distruktur,
Lotte Meret Effinger, Viking Eggeling, VALIE EXPORT,
Sylvie Fleury, George Petrou, Elisa Pône, Jonnine Standish.
13. 10. – 19.12. 2015 I Opening Thu, 22.10.2015
I know a girl called Jonny
She’s an impossibility
‘I’m an alchemist in my astronaut’s dress’
Changing all the girls into boys
(Rowland S. Howard)
Jonny is not from this world. She’s a vision of a late-60s utopian fantasy – drawing power from her
feminine body while being fiercely independent, confident and direct. Remember Brigitte Bardot in “And
God Created Woman (Et Dieu… créa la femme)”? She can do that. Remember Marlon Brando in “The
Wild One.”? Jonny can do that as well.
You will most likely first recognise her by her husky voice ringing with a deadpan tone. She is not
interested in gender binaries, norms or hierarchies created by human societies. Jonny’s an enigmatic
lone wolf who doesn’t break the rules because she doesn’t believe in them in the first place.
Jonny was that young girl who had a certain rosy innocence and naive charm about her. Many foolish
hearts have been burnt trying to pin her down, yet Jonny is so far removed from this world that she has
somehow become transcendent – a satellite orbiting in space. She’s your romanticised dreamgirl from the
imagined future that has already passed.
Ivan Argote (*1983 in Bogotá, CO)
In the work “Geometría” (2012) two young women ask themselves three existential questions in the
continuous rainfall of the jungle: „Where was I born?“, „Where did I grow up?“ and „Where do I want to
go?“. The answers are not only articulated but accompanied by a shot from a gun that is reloaded with
each answer. The shot is fired into the void of the jungle and affirms Jonny’s ‘I-don’t-really-care-attitude’
showing a kind of innocent violence done toward her emotional connections and past from the time when
she was a teen.
Nancy Buchanan (*1946 in Boston, US)
In the work „These Creatures“ (1979), a male narrator examines the female human-being as a bizarre and
mysterious creature while imitating the tone of a wildlife documentary. Since the 70’s Nancy Buchanan
has investigated the feminine position in contemporary society with her performances and videos, and
became a key figure of the Los Angeles art scene with her strong involvement in the feminist movement.
VALIE EXPORT (*1940 in Linz, AT)
Throughout her experimental movie “Syntagma” (1983) VALIE EXPORT describes all kinds of contradictory
images of the “female body”. The artist breaks any notion of unity – between body, space, or time – and
shifts in an ironic way between images of clichéd and strong women. Jonny is similarly detached from
space, time and the body, and is therefore simply an outside observer of these existing clichés.
“Syntagma” is provided by Sixpackfilm.
George Petrou (*1981 in Paphos, CY)
The video „Never Met“ (2011) by George Petrou offers a contemplative landscape, whose slow evolution is
as hypnotic as it is unnatural. By simply reversing the camera to present an inverted and zoomed-in view,
a stalactite suddenly becomes a gravity-defying botanical component of a surreal planet.
Elisa Pône (*1979 in Pontoise, FR)
Elisa Pône’s “A cigarette with god” (2010) shows a brooding and listless young woman sitting in a moving
car, letting her cigarette be consumed by the wind outside the open window. The melancholic gesture of
the scene oscillates between a sense of indifference to the world and a quiet way of seeing that finds the
sublime in the mundane.
Sylvie Fleury (*1961 in Geneva, CH)
Sylvie Fleury takes the viewer (or voyeur?) in “Twinkle” (1992) on a journey into her closet and the world of
fashion from the 60s to 90s. In a „never-ending“ try-it-on, she slips into dozens of shoes with matching
outfits, which contain residual archetypes of symbolic representations of function, aesthetics and the
exploitation of the female body. For example, the shoes are close substitutes to those of Barbarella or
Gwendoline, and upon closer look, “Twinkle” puts a contemporary spin on past science fiction scenarios,
with the closet standing in as a machine in which to travel backward and forward across time and space.
Distruktur (Melissa Dullius & Gustavo Jahn, BR)
“5 truly false clues”, the prologue to the film “Éternau“ (2006) by Brazilian duo Distruktur, is a poetic
adventure leading to unexpected spaces and characters. As the pre-Columbian sculpture prophetically
announces that “The past is the future inverted“, anything is possible with time travel: whether it is an
imagined 1870s Yemen, Robotern -The Tender Robot watering plants or multiple versions of seductive
secret agents that provide glimpses to an other-worldly Jonny.
Jonnine Standish (*1979 in Melbourne, AU)
The musician Jonnine Standish (and member of the band HTRK) is also the inspiration behind Rowland S.
Howard’s song, “(I Know) A Girl Called Jonny” upon which this exhibition is based. In “Golden Gaytime
God” (2015) made specifically for this exhibition, we see Jonnine Standish dressed as the fictional
alchemical version of herself. She voices an excerpt from Joanna Russ’ feminist science fiction novel “The
Female Man” (1975).
Lotte Meret Effinger (*1985 in Berlin, DE)
“Supernature” (2014) stages characters and objects as supernatural images and gives the viewer multiple
associative spaces: make-up utensils become offerings, witch demon masks come to life; a bodybuilder
poses in front of a pink background as a beauty queen and a young girl innocently crushes cake-eyes. But
the pull of this work arises from the irregular lengths of its images that you see and the background noises
that you can hear. What would Jonny say to these contorted views of femininity?
Viking Eggeling (*1880 in Lund,SE – 1925 in Berlin, DE)
The Swedish avant-garde artist and filmmaker Viking Eggeling is considered one of the pioneers of
absolute film and visual music. In his film “Symphonie diagonale” (1924) abstract shapes made of paper
cut-outs and tin foil figures were photographed and collaged into a playful and hypnotic short movie. In its
abstraction the motions seem to resemble Jonny’s malleable freedom and individuality.
Special thanks to:
Sorana Serban (Assistant Curator)
Nina Hübner (German copy editing)