Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to present GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt, a solo exhibition with artist Charlemagne Palestine, who also spent several years living and working in Rotterdam. Presenting a selection of works from the artist’s oeuvre, the exhibition includes early video works, sculptures, paintings, installations, and sound scores. Charlemagne Palestine works form a highly personal universe of rituals, intoxication, and shamanism. In the last four decades, the artist has created an extensive body of experimental musical compositions, bodily performances, and, in later years, visual art works that are inhabited by stuffed animals. To Palestine, teddy bears figure as powerful shamanic totems, which he fondly calls Divinities.
Born in 1947, Brooklyn, in a Jewish family, Charlemagne Palestine gained recognition in the sixties with his experimental compositions and performances. A flamboyant part of the creative scene of New York, he collaborated with choreographer Simone Forti, artists Tony Conrad and Richard Serra, and performed alongside avant-garde artist La Monte Young and composers Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich. In spite of the art historical consensus about that era and his contemporaries, Palestine has always resisted being labeled a minimalist, opting instead for the term “maximalist”. In his later years he toured through Europe, settling briefly in the Netherlands, where he lived and worked in Rotterdam.
Central to his exhibition are a grand piano, as the sounding heart of the show, and a new large-scale version of the so-called God-Bear Museum Model, a proposal for a new kind of museum where music and performance find a home just as easily as a painting would. Also part of the exhibition are Palestine’s extraordinary music or sound annotations, a vast collection of works on paper, which aim to translate sound into image.
The exhibition kicks off with a performance by Palestine on the opening night, Thursday 28 January 2016, and will be accompanied by a new catalogue, co-published by Witte de With Publishers and Sternberg Press, on behalf of Kunsthalle Wien.
Curator: Luca Lo Pinto (Kunsthalle Wien), together with Samuel Saelemakers
The exhibition is co-commissioned by Kunsthalle Wien and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art. An earlier iteration of the exhibition was on view from 18 September to 8 November 2015 at Kunsthalle Wien.
On 2-3 April 2016, Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti will present a new version of their performance Illuminations at Vleeshal Markt, organized by Vleeshal, Middelburg.