Reports

Running through foamy darkness, I can hardly make out the delicacies of the surrounding substances and shapes. The points of reference have gradually vanished with the rising pulse of my gasping breath. I am looking for something, yet the contours of what I have seen before and what I am trying to encounter again have fallen apart. I am struggling through the bushes; it must have been somewhere here; I am changing the direction while running, to find out at last that I am going around in circles. It’s not here, it’s just not here at night, and he is not here either. Or perhaps he is, which would be even worse, he might be observing me the whole time. Him or the girl and her bees. After an endless period of time, totally exhausted, I am caught by the full moon playing out its new night game. I give up. I am trying to get oriented, I don’t know, I am just trying to keep my direction and after another eternity, I get to one of the roads leading to the centre of Kassel. I leave the Karlsaue Park behind, along with the vision of the dog, a dream of an unknown space, living under the cloak of darkness, completely inaccessible to the sight of the day visitors of Dokumenta.
The over-dimensioned, slightly emotional, escalated format of my personal experience of the installation by Pierre Huyghe for Dokumenta 13 is a model for the whole exhibition. The moment which I do not hesitate to label as an initiation; the encounter with a strangely emaciated dog with a magenta leg in the middle of the trimmed baroque park of the Orangerie in Kassel, Germany; has redefined the perception predispositions for any of my future contacts with contemporary art. First in a completely irrational way; in a way similar to following a dog through a vegetation of poisonous and hallucinogenic plants getting ever thicker and more chaotic, leading to a rubble site crowned by a beehive on the head of a lying girl. Later with an analytical effort to discover the system while walking through the retrospective exhibition of Pierre Huyghe in Centre Pompidou in Paris.
All of the reflected contemporary art is made on the basis of a cultural-social transfer. The cultural world is interconnected by sipping the morning coffee while reading Contemporary Art Daily, an everyday portion of e-flux newsletters, and physical travelling across the western and eastern context for the ephemeral experience of exhibitions as an intentional form of a programme consumption of art and its further spreading. On the other hand, there is a more or less automatic and half-conscious absorption of an accidental choice of impulses from the current environment scattered in various directions. An autonomous work of art, taken out of the complete set of lines linking the art world, is practically impossible; if it appears and stirs a debate, it must be instantly framed by the expanding field of contemporary art. The art world relates to itself in circular contractions, declaring this process as the regular methodical format of the genesis of more and more art. Reflection and appropriation in their legitimacy, however, remain anonymous in most cases. The lines do go straight, however, they are not labelled. Pierre Huyghe, i.e. this exhibition, represents a concretization of one of such fine lines. A fascination by the works of the artist, a subjectivization of his interpretation, and an adapted appropriation within the parameters of one’s own expression, are our confessed, clearly declared standpoint.
The individual artists selected for this exhibition have included an impression of the works by Pierre Huyghe in their creative practice from various starting points and perspectives of perception, just like I did in the role of the curator. With respect to the delicate network linking the individual artists with each other, as well as with Huyghe himself, there is no showcase of original presentations of distinctive creative identities. On the contrary, what emerges is a collective work of the medium of the exhibition, gradually generated by a mutual discussion among the artists in the preparatory stages of the exhibition. The resulting whole, just like the works by Pierre Huyghe, exists as a self-sufficient environment of fluid meanings and mutual uttered as well as hidden messages. It can be perceived as a serious commentary on the current state of art, the bonds across its world, the still problematic relation between the centre and periphery, as well as a number of other issues. At the same time, it also represents an open game of chances of various origin and purely personal gestures.

Jan Kratochvil

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