On Seeing, 2020, Artist Talk at the Berkeley Art Museum – Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
In this interview Gauri Gill presents the artistic work she has been doing in Rajasthan since 1999. For us it is an opportunity to look back at the Traces exhibition of 2018, in which Museum Tinguely presented two major groups of works by this artist.
Since 1999, the Indian photographer Gauri Gill (born 1970 in Chandigarh, lives in New Delhi) has spent a great deal of time with marginalized rural communities in the desert of West Rajasthan. Traces is one of several series to emerge from her extensive archive Notes from the Desert. The photographs are portraits of graves that she visited with relatives of the dead, or fellow community members, and that are often so discreet as to be barely recognizable to outsiders. As physical sites of memory in the midst of the desert landscape, they are just as exposed to processes of coming into being and passing away as those buried there were in life and death. On a mound of sand, these markings in the landscape bring together stones (bearing inscriptions), shards of pottery or personal items. In the simplest of ways, a place is labelled and memory cultivated.
With the same empathy and matter-of-factness, the Birth Series, eight small-format photographs, shows coming into being as the counterpart to passing away. Gill’s friendship with the midwife and feminist Kasumbi Dai allowed her to be present at the birth of the Dai’s granddaughter. The little girl’s first contact with the world is the sandy floor of their dwelling. For all its ‘naturalness‘ and simplicity, as an event the birth has a solemn, almost meditative component, as expressed in the midwife’s vividly lined, life-filled face.
Nadine Cueni, des hirondelles, 2019
19’54 min., FHD-Video, 16:9, colored with sound, French with German subtitels
2019 Museum Tinguely, Basel; © Nadine Cueni
April to Septmeber 2019
des hirondelles, 2019, Video installation, French with German subtitles, 19’54 min.
des hirondelles (‘Of the Swallows’, 2019) is a film about the search for a place that no longer exists. A film about memories and narratives, a poetic approach to a tragic event, to people and their stories.
On 23 August 1986, lightning struck the farm of the Dafflon family in Neyruz, shortly after the summer hay harvest. In a total, devastating fire, the farmstead was destroyed and burned to the ground. One bull and seven calves died in the flames, the agricultural machinery and equipment were deformed and destroyed in the ‘hellfire’. The tragic event changed the life of the family forever and inspired Jean Tinguely, whose house and studio were located in the immediate vicinity and who was recovering from a severe heart operation, to create his late key work Mengele-Dance of Death (1986).
The artist Nadine Cueni (b. 1976, lives in Riehen) was invited by Museum Tinguely to collect stories and impressions at the site of the events. These recall the biography of the destroyed farm as an ‘oral history’, but also relate something specific about the place in the images of today, something which has changed its rhythm of life only slightly over the last thirty years.
The film around Tinguely's Mengele-Dance of Death was shown in the context of the exhibition «Lois Weinberger – Debris Field» (17 April - 1 September 2019), for which the artist went in search of traces and debris in his parental farmhouse.
Script: Nadine Cueni
Film/Editing: Marina Fehr, Nadine Cueni
Audio: Robin Michel, Nadine Cueni
July to November 2019
Roth Bar at Tinguely
by Dieter Roth/Björn Roth/Oddur Roth/Einar Roth/Bjarni Grimsson
Until November 2019, the Museum Tinguely presented the extraordinary Roth Bar. First conceived by Dieter Roth together with his son Björn in the early 1980s, the Bars are dynamic, ever-changing installations that also represent a constant within the Roths’ cross-generational practice. The bar, comprised of scavenged materials, is a central motif in Dieter Roth’s oeuvre. The Roth Bar has been shown and operated in various exhibitions since 2005, most recently in Zurich in 2015 and subsequently at Hotel Les Trois Rois (Basel).
Courtesy Dieter Roth Estate and Hauser & Wirth.
The Roth Bar was bookable for exclusive evening events: Drinks, food, guided tours of the museum and the exhibition on request, for groups from 20 to 40 people. The Roth Bar is run by the team of Bistro «Chez Jeannot»
Juni to September 2017
Traces, 2015, Three-channel HD video installation, color, sound, 6’03’’
Traces, Nevin Aladağ’s video installation of 2015, was created in Stuttgart, the city in which she grew up. It makes use of musical instruments such as those also used by local musicians and buskers to fill the city – its playgrounds, popular sights, and all those central locations where people meet and do business – with music. The orchestra in this piece, however, consists not of human players, but of movables and of the texture and structure of the city, whose movement and interaction, steered in part by chance, generate music and sound. The absent, yet somehow present body conveys not only the solidity of the city’s architecture, but also the ephemerality and the fluidity, as well as the connectedness of sound and music, making for a carefully choreographed, visual and musical composition.
Aladağ (b. 1972) spent her childhood and youth in Stuttgart. She completed her study of sculpture at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 2000 and now lives and works in Berlin. She combines her exploration of cultural identities and forms of expression and of the public space as a social and political domain with a special interest in dance and music in order to produce multi-layered works in a wide range of media.