13th May – 23rd June 2016
It has been precisely 50 years since Yoko Ono created the first version of her iconic film “No. 4”.
“In 50 years or so, which is like 10 centuries from now, people will look at the film of the 60’s. They will probably comment on Ingmar Bergman as meaningfully meaningful film-maker Jean-Luc Godard as the meaningfully meaningless. Antonioni as meaninglessly meaningful, etc, etc. Then they would come to the No. 4 film and see a sudden swarm of exposed bottoms, that these bottoms, in fact belonged to people who represented the London scene. And I hope that they would see that the 60’s was not only the age of achievements, but of laughter. This film, in fact, is like an aimless petition signed by people with their anuses. Next time we wish to make an appeal, we should send this film as the signature list.” wrote Ono at the time.
In the exhibition “50 years” this historic film becomes juxtaposed with the contemporary work of Sascha Mikloweit, created precisely half a century later, from the perspective Ono envisioned.
We know now “No. 4” shares the utopian character of artistic visions so typical to the time, but we can only look with irony at the prophecies of the pre ’68 era that never quite played out. Despite Ono’s work being socially revolutionary in a way, one cannot feel its formal qualities are still somehow buried in the modernist singularity (the narrow framing of the film reminds one of modernist photographs by Yasuhiro Ishimoto from an over decade earlier).
Post modernism brought us plurality of discourse and in a way in “50 years” “No. 4” is paired with what Mikloweit refers to as “New Ambiguity” – his ongoing project. “The cultural symbols, reports of the state of violence and state of counter-violence. They are a signifier of cultural, social and economic dominant behaviour”.
His assemblage of a cultural horizon approaches the contemporary conditions of art, politics and forms of what Foucault described as the new disciplinary society (free but confined). It is a construction with perhaps similar dose of irony but at the same time more sense of critical responsibility.
Throughout the exhibition references to three particular moments of history are made: mid 60s (of “No. 4”) which was an important threshold for the following liberalisation of society, the contemporary (of Mikloweit’s work) and in between the two – 90s (of the equipment used to present Ono’s film on). The latter appears to be a turning point, not only from the perspective of acceleration of technological development, birth of social networking platforms and new forms of control of the society, but very importantly from the society which had been becoming more liberal into one redefining itself through the global crisis and the following turning back in the direction of conservatism and nationalism.
After all, one cannot miss the sometimes naive, young and rebellious character of the artistic practices of the 60s has inevitably led these artist to become part of the the establishment they once so much rejected. How could the young generation respond when being rebellious become a matter of fashion and an expectation of previous generation.
Sascha Mikloweit’s work has been supported by
ARNO EICHHORN | limited edition prints – www.arnoeichhorn.com
Artists Sascha Mikloweit, Yoko Ono