WHATMAN: leaving traces deleted is an international group exhibition guest curated by PASSE-AVANT. This site-specific project takes place in the educational wing of the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel-Aviv called “Shelter for Contemporary Art.” The exhibition includes new work by Jean Barberis (U.S.A), Benedikte Bjerre (Netherlands), Anne Brand Galvez (Guatemala/Zurich), Eran Hadas (Israel), Sonia Knop (Israel), Olga Pedan (Sweden), Ada Raczka (Poland/Germany) and Daniel Stubenvoll (Germany).
For WHATMAN, the artists mailed via post artworks that respond to the book Life a User’s Manual by George Perec (1978). The famous book tells the tale of a man who, for fifty years, painted watercolor landscapes at various ports that he then sent back to his apartment where a resident fabricated them into puzzles. When returning from the ports, he would solve the puzzle and then make it disappear by dissolving the colors in a chemical solution and throwing it into the sea.
The works in WHATMAN are also in dialogue with the Shelter for Contemporary Art, a functioning public bomb shelter in the heart of Tel Aviv. The architecture of the windowless bomb shelter, including large air filtration systems and heavy metal doors, is integrated into the works themselves. Following the logic of Life a User’s Manual, the artist were asked to send instructions along with their works including how to install them and how to dispose of them after the show. These instructions are exhibited alongside the works and vary from technical installation instructions to poetic texts or riddles.
PASSE-AVANT is a project platform founded by Carina Bukuts and Sonia Knop based in Frankfurt/Main to create exhibitions with young contemporary artists. PASSE-AVANT also explores contemporary art and culture with their blog (https://passe-avant.net/). WHATMAN is part of a series inspired by the book Life a User’s Manual by George Perec.
by Eran Hadas
Georges Perec and his “Machine for Inspiring Stories”
In this talk, we will discuss the methods and processes Perec used in his writings. We will talk about Perec’s family background and his relationship with Raymond Queneau. We will read excerpts from his books Things: A Story of the Sixties, A Man Asleep, The Augmentation, I Remember, Life a User’s Manual and more.
Furthermore he will present a an Automatic Poetry Generator that reconstructs a poem based on the words comprising an excerpt of from Perec’s Life a User’s Manual. The poem will be printed on thermal paper that will fade and decompose over time.
Anne Brand Galvez