It’s always a pleasure when the visual aspect of a video rises up to meet the quality of the song, or vice versa. Sadly this is not a given, but When the Ribbon Breaks, which I am lead to believe is just one guy, has created this lulling, startling visual montage with a comfortingly familiar retro-future feel that also manages to evoke a mild feeling of dystopia. Well played! The sound is what I’d call Electronic White Soul: Like Paul Young singing with Kraftwerk, if I can get old school with my references, as I am wont to do. Enjoy!
In my own words, I would describe German artist Michael Riedel’s Powerpoint as repetitive, minimalist geometric designs on large canvases, mounted on wallpaper mimicking the same design. As far as how he came up with these specific images, however, and what it all “means,” I admit I couldn’t really get my head around it. Here’s an explanation from the show’s press release:
“Since the late 1990s, Michael Riedel has advanced his own model of a self-sustaining artistic production, continuously using reproductions as a means to “reintroduce the system of art into the art system.”
PowerPoint takes its point of departure in the artist’s last solo exhibition at David Zwirner entitled The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog (2011). Where this show reflected digital distribution processes — with Poster Paintings featuring information from websites communicating Riedel’s work as their backgrounds — the present exhibition takes the process a step further, allowing the system to recreate itself once more. It includes new works made by combining two Poster Paintings using an animated feature in PowerPoint, the software program used by the artist when delivering presentations on his work. Riedel has “frozen” the particular transition between two slides, generating a new work that takes place between two existing works. In a further variation of the idea, some Poster Paintings were merged with a blank page. The fact that each new work creates a gap that can be filled again suggests the idea of endless production.”
So, there you go. I couldn’t have said it myself.
What was also cool about attending this opening reception is the invite itself. Riedel asked the band Woog Riots to create an original song to advertise the exhibition, and this makes the invitation itself a collectible work of art. You can see it in the above photo, bottom right. Below, you will see my signed copy of the invite.
You can stream the song at This link. The lyrics explain the “point” of the exhibit and give the location, address, time and date of the opening as well as the duration of the exhibit — and the correct way to pronounce Riedel’s name — in an up-beat, euro-pop dance tune that sounds like a kid’s band version of Kraftwerk with a girl singer. Very fun!
Geoffrey and I arrived at the gallery about 15 minutes early and so were able to get all of our pictures with no people in them, meet Riedel and get his autograph on our invitations and also enjoy some very cool ’60s-sounding music playing on a turntable that was set up on the floor near the corner of the rear gallery.
I think this album is what was playing, but I can’t be sure. It says, “Up Against It: Joe Orton’s Original Screenplay for The Beatles. Original Soundtrack by The Times.” I want to find this album and own it.
Michael Riedel’s Powerpoint will be on Exhibit at David Zwirner Gallery, 533 West 19th Street, NYC, through March 23, 2013, so you still have lots of time to see it. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
All humor aside (and the video above is a scream!) Hitler isn’t the only one who’s upset. I don’t know anyone who was successful in purchasing tickets to any of Kraftwerk’s upcoming career retrospective series of shows at NYC’s Museum Of Modern Art. At least three other friends besides me (that I’m aware of) were all stuck loitering in a “virtual queue” for 90 minutes until our computers eventually all timed out. What a huge drag.