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"Pavel Büchler Absentmindedwindowgazing"
2006-10-21 until 2006-12-03
Kunsthalle Bern is proud to present the first institutional solo exhibition of Czech born artist
Pavel Buchler. Also a lecturer and writer, Büchler is living in the United Kingdom since 1981, where he is also a Research Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University. Summing up his own practice as "making nothing happen", he is committed to the catalytic nature of art - its potential to draw attention to the obvious and revealing it as ultimately strange. His subtle interventions and wry texts are concerned with revealing the accepted and everyday as ultimately bizarre. A key-operative mode in Pavel Büchler’s praxis is a reinvention of storytelling, long-time peeled away from the surfaces of modern and contemporary art or too often replaced by mere testimony. Büchler works with old technology, audio recording, light and the material and mental presence of texts in his installations that deal with the emergence of experience and meaning in art.
Büchler’s work evolves around two fundamental concerns: time and the manipulation of found materials. Concerned with the distortions of language, he gives a critical attention to the gaps in communication, fascinated as he is with the limits of the communicative properties of visual language. He often addresses the question of the legitimacy of communication in addition to its ephemeral and long-lasting nature.
Diary 2001, (2003), is a single diary page on which the artist made entries for each day for a whole year, resulting in a surface that has become textured and bruised, full of unintelligible information.
484 framed letters called The List / Previous Correspondence (2001/2006), are personalised replies to the senders of direct-mail promotional letters received between October 2001 and August 2003. Every reply thus contained all the signatures of the previous senders/addressees (plus the artist’s own). A second set of letters in which the build up of the signatures was reversed, informs each of 242 addressees that their name has been removed from the list.
The exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern will also feature the b/w photograph My Country (1980) depicting a beautifully poetic gesture which turned out to be the last work the artist made in Prague. When Büchler found a small lime tree with a broken branch near his house on the embankment of the river Vltava he picked the dry leaves from the living branches and left those on the damaged part of the tree.
Hard Love (2002) lines up nineteen books on Lenin and art, donated and dedicated in the past to the Library of the Lenin Museum in Tampere. Now sold in the Museum shop as souvenirs, the artist purchased them to provide the source material. The written dedications in the books were crossed out with used pencils donated by local artists during a performance at the city Art Museum.
Particularly interested in art’s old links to language and literature, Pavel Büchler’s show at the Kunsthalle Bern will mainly focus on a group of works he conceived over the years with Marconi Sound projectors from the 1920’s and text-to speech software to read a text. In The Castle (2005) Büchler uses a quotation from Franz Kafka’s quintessential text about labyrinthine bureaucracy and its control systems. The short section chosen by Büchler recounts the resentment with which Josef K’s presence in the village is suffered by the locals. It includes the words of a village landlady: You are not from the Castle, you are not from the village, you aren’t anything. Or rather, unfortunately, you are something, a stranger, a man who isn’t wanted and is in everybody’s way...
The passage is used both in its original version and edited in the style of a language text book. It is narrated by speach synthesis software from a large number of antique loudspeakers designed by Marconi in 1926, the year of the first publication of Kafka’s novel.
The Castle is about the struggle to fit in and its failure. As a book it has, of course, many possible metaphorical readings, but here we can be specific. Booming out through the antique speakers, the text recalls old factory or street propaganda announcements, this one declaring that assimilation is impossible and the stranger will always remain on the outside. Büchler is particularly interested in the different resonances it can have in the different cities where the work is presented: in a city of migrants and Byzantine codes of behaviour like Istanbul, or in a more provincial old European capital like Bern.
Through the manipulation of found materials Pavel Büchler looks at how the convergence between the presence of the past and simultaneity make our world a strange place. Sich Überkugelnd und Weg, (2006), a text installation at the windows of Adriano’s bar in Bern is a collaboration with Bernese artist Pamela Rosenkranz and presents all the citations of Franz Kafka extracted from the German translation of Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature, as a continuous narrative.
A new film in collaboration with Mark Neville and different video works will also be on view. Andy: The Abbreviated Life, (2006) is a 3-minute “reconstruction” of Andy Warhol’s 8-hour film Empire made from all the film stills found on the internet through a google image search (a total of 47 images). The film is accompanied by a sound track collaged from an audio guide for the Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, using all the phrases in which the artist is mentioned by name.
This first institutional solo-exhibition of Pavel Büchler worldwide is realized in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and is supported by the City and the Kanton of Bern, SRG SSR Suisse, Club 15, the Czech Embassy in Switzerland, the Fondation Nestlé Pour L’Art, The British Council and The Henry Moore Foundation.
Kunsthalle Bern and the Van Abbemuseum prepare a book on the work of Pavel Büchler with texts by François Boucher, Nick Crowe, Charles Esche, Andrew Hunt, Vasif Kortun, and Philippe Pirotte. This publication is supported by the Manchester Metropolitan University
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