Pavel Büchler & Evangelia Spiliopoulou
11 February – 26 March, 2011
Opening Thursday, February 10, 2011, 6.30 PM
On Thursday, 10 February Peep-Hole will present Working Title, an exhibition by Pavel Büchler with Evangelia Spiliopoulou.
Asked to develop a specific project for this space, after reflecting on the fact that he is at once an artist, writer and lecturer, Pavel Büchler worked with Evangelia Spiliopoulou, a former pupil at Manchester Metropolitan University, on a project that develops and analyses the ambivalence of the term “instruction”: pedagogy and teaching on the one hand, and norms and regulations on the other. The project thus takes on the form of a dialogue, a double personal show that involves the two artists in an exchange of mutual ideas.
Working Title is inspired by a process that strives to transform the dynamics of speculative thought into the work itself. Reversing the principle whereby something is first shown and then discussed, Büchler and Spiliopoulou make the discussion the aim itself, and not merely an instrument for achieving it.
The dialectical confrontation of the two artists from different generations, attitudes and environments does not strive to reach conclusions or lay out a common position. With conceptual clarity and aesthetic economy, Büchler and Spiliopoulou examine the shared areas of interest that emerged from a series of preliminary conversations that constitute the substantial part of the creative process of Working Title. The exhibition presents two individual works by the two artists and a video installation created jointly as the sole outcome of these conversations.
In the first room, the two large installations – Eclipse (2009) by Pavel Büchler and Office Drawings (2009-2011) by Evangelia Spiliopoulou – are not intended as individual statements but, rather, as the first outline of this dialogue, which continues and is developed in the second room.
Pavel Büchler, Eclipse, 2009. Nine Leitz Prado projectors, found balls, projector stands, dimmer unit, dimensions variable
In Eclipse nine Leitz Prado projectors from the 1950s shine circles of light on the wall, evoking the structure of the solar system, while balls and other round objects of various sizes cross the optics of the projectors, creating the effect of different overlapping eclipses.
The recovery of an obsolete technology, the use of objets trouvés and extreme economy of means are recurrent elements in the artist’s practice and make Eclipse a perfect example of Büchler’s ability to employ small and unexpected gestures to reveal the conceptual potential of the most common objects.
Evangelia Spiliopoulou, Office Drawings, 2009-2011. Thirty-six ink-jet prints on paper, 29,7 x 42 cm each
The interplay of the projections of these overlapping geometric images is counterpointed by the rigid sequence of Spiliopoulou’s Office Drawings, a series of 36 drawings made with the Word program in Microsoft Office, directly and intuitively reflecting thoughts that are first formulated in words.
The starting point is a written phrase from which the image is generated. The idea of blending the “academic” tradition of drawing with software stems from the artist’s desire to reconsider drawing and its rigid rules about the balance of forms, lights and shadows, emancipating it from its uniqueness and transforming it into a product whose “use” and reproducibility become independent of its production.
Both works allude to the concept of instruction and demonstration and, albeit in very different ways, they have to do with the conventions of schematic representation. Eclipse is inspired in part by a fascination for the dissemination of difficult scientific concepts through analogies with everyday situations, whereas the Office Drawings series originates from Spiliopoulou’s interest in diagrams and technical drawings. The two works, which share the “low-cost” use of “standard” technologies such as those of projectors and digital prints, converge not only in spatial terms, but above all in their ability to reinterpret modernist aesthetics using different approaches conditioned by the cultural/generational differences between the two artists. For Büchler this interest is manifested not only through the type of image that is projected, but also by the design of the projectors, whose choice does not respond to formal reasons but to the interpretation of the object as something that reflects given historical, cultural and political conditions, not to mention the avant-garde’s idea of obsolescence. For Spiliopoulou the reference to modernism is instead underscored by her personal interest in the work of El Lissitzky (1890–1941), as well as the breakdown of the conventions of academic drawing.
Pavel Büchler and Evangelia Spiliopoulou, Untitled, 2011.
Three CRT monitors, three dvd players, video loop, dimensions variable
In the second room the dialogue between the two artists picks up pace in a unique work in which their “conversations” converge. Untitled (2011) is a video installation composed of three monitors (CRT models), two of which reproduce a monochromatic screen, respectively red and green. The third one makes use of an extract from an educational video discovered on YouTube that documents a demonstration of Snell’s Law, the formula that describes the refraction of light through two different isotropic media, such as water and glass. At random intervals the video is punctuated by “voids” in which a chroma-key blue screen appears. Red, green and blue are the colours of the RGB system underlying the operation of the old CRT television sets. When they are blended in equal proportions, the moment in which all three monitors show only pure colour, the light generated in space should “theoretically” become white. Televisions with CRT technology invert the principle of Snell’s Law and the projection of this video on a television screen thus becomes a tautological demonstration of the principle (i.e. its repetition) and, at the same time, further self-reflection on the technological medium.
On this occasion Peep-Hole will present the seventh issue of Peep-Hole Sheet, a quarterly of artists’ writings, with Pavel Büchler’s contribution entitled “Notes from the bottom of a bag”. The two programmes – the exhibition and the publication – will thus intersect for the very first time. Peep-Hole Sheet #07 – Notes from the bottom of a bag does not represent an exhibition catalogue, but a project that complements it, using different methods to examine the “working-method-as-a-concept” approach that is already part of the exhibition.
Peep-Hole Sheet is published and distributed by Mousse Publishing.
With support from
Born in Prague in 1952, Pavel Büchler moved to the United Kingdom in 1981. He currently lives and works in Manchester, where he is a research professor at Manchester Metropolitan University. From 1992 to 1996 he was the director of the School of Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art. Describing his practice as “making nothing happen”, in his work Büchler focuses on the catalytic nature of art and its potential to draw attention to the obvious, revealing it as ultimately unexpected. His research interests include theories of photography and film, the creative use of obsolete technologies, and experimental and pedagogical approaches in art education. His most recent solo shows include those at Max Wigram, London (2010, 2009); Kunstparterre, Munich (2010); DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague (2010); Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2009); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2007); Objectif Exhibitions/MuHKA, Antwerp, (2007); Kunsthalle Bern (2006). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, recently Luc Tuymans: A Vision of Central Europe; The Reality of the Lowest Rank, Aurentshuis, Bruges (2010); Under Destruction, Tinguely Museum, Basel (2010); No New Thing Under the Sun, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2010); The History of Art, The Curator’s Series 3, David Roberts Foundation, London (2010), The Human Stain, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela (2009); Frieze Projects, London (2008).
Born in Greece in 1981, Evangelia Spiliopoulou lives and works in Manchester, where she recently earned a Master of Fine Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work moves between sculpture and digital drawing, with specific interventions and the conceptual transformation of everyday objects. Spiliopoulou recently had a solo show at Bureau Gallery, Manchester (2010). Group exhibitions include: Processed Limitations, Bankley Studios Project Space, Levenshulme (2010); Industry & Idleness, Contemporary Art Society Offices, London (2010); Rooms To Let, Kodra Action Field, Thessalonica (2008).
The exhibition is curated by Vincenzo de Bellis and Bruna Roccasalva