ajh.pm

ajh.pm
Dornberger Str. 2, 33615 Bielefeld

ajh.pm is an art space opened in Bielefeld in December 2020. It showcases videos and other art projects by international artists at regular intervals. Videos are displayed in a loop at nightfall and can also be viewed for a limited time at www.ajh.pm. Project initiator Audrey Hörmann would like to use this platform to promote dialogue around young and lesser-known, but also established artists and their work.

Opening times Wed + Fri 6–8pm

Statement by Audrey Hörmann

IG @ajh.pm
contact@ajh.pm

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5.21 Tobias Zielony
Hurd’s Bank

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5.21 Tobias Zielony
Hurd’s Bank
15.10–14.12.21
A telescope acts as an extension of the human eye, doubles as a symbolic prosthesis. A telescope acts as an extension of the human eye, doubles as a symbolic prosthesis. It makes distant objects appear close enough to see in detail, allows them to be viewed in their entirety or observed at all. More
At the same time, the circular image through a viewfinder only ever reveals part of the whole, and it becomes increasingly blurry towards its black edges. Tobias Zielony’s Hurd’s Bank (2019), a video commissioned by the art space Blitz Valletta in Malta, employs static shots through a telescope as a cinematic and artistic device. The artist used a camera fitted with a telescope lens to record ship traffic at Hurd’s Bank: a distant, shallow stretch of water where oil smugglers from Libya (and other ports or states) transfer crude from one ship to another—a kind of maritime darknet. Its footage shows the hazy contours of passing motorboats and container ships, countless luminaries and light points, ship workers on break. All of it appears swallowed by darkness, made dim and vague by its distance and fuzziness. Moving images blur before the viewer’s eyes, evoking a kind of maritime log book with no clear reference to either geographic location or the ships themselves.

A fictional narrator gives a fragmentary account of his observations and experiences during his stay in Malta. The monologue’s actual storyline reconstructs the still-murky murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia (2017); it searches for explanations and speculates as to connections between corrupt politicians and the mafia underworld, but also ponders Malta’s political role at the far borders of the EU. As the narrator notes, “Who wanted her dead? And why? The people trying to solve these questions live in danger. Something thick and impenetrable lays in front of my eyes. I hope that the opacity is hiding something rather than being the answer itself.” Right before her death, Caruana Galizia had raised allegations of corruption by members of the government and exposed the country’s lucrative cash-for-passports scheme. The articles posted on her blog made her many enemies, particularly among the island nation’s political elite. Despite an extensive investigation and findings holding the Maltese state at least partially responsible for the murder, questions as to its realpolitik motivation remain.

Several passages in the monologue point to a dialectic of the visible and invisible: “I wonder if merely looking at a ship might already be dangerous? The telescope blurs the distinctions between distance and proximity, risk and safety, movement and stillness,” and later, “When I connect the telescope to the camera and aim it at the harbor, I see nothing at first. The noise of the camera blends with the motionless water, magenta and black. The dots of lights make no sense. What am I looking at?” Zielony succinctly sums it up in his use of observation and a telescope to create a meta-reflection, a resonance image for opaque, under-the-surface dealings beyond the law. Like his work in photography and in other videos, the artist moves between documentation and fiction, observation and assertion, staging and deconstruction. Zielony keeps things in limbo, negotiates in an almost unspectacular way the personal and political aspects of an assassination-for-hire—speculates about dark in-between spaces, but also their influence on and collective memory in a country, history, and people.

For many years, Tobias Zielony’s work has focused on youth subcultures and marginalized groups in society, which he mostly photographs in their social surroundings. Photo series by the artists often take a specific location as point of departure. From there the artist embarks on a visual search for traces, cautiously approaches people, gets to know their day-to-day customs and codes, explores their habitus and status. Zielony’s photographs frequently take up tools of photojournalism, in particular a sense of intimacy and proximity to his subjects. Zielony’s chosen protagonists touch on political and social issues in a globalized society, and yet they also always reflect on the image itself as a phenomenon of our time. In 2006 he introduced videos and stop-motion films to his practice, the earliest of which were still closely tied to the photo series in terms of subject matter. His later cinematic works show increased artistic autonomy. Involving and focused on socially-marginalized communities, they probe the line between documentation and fiction, using the emerging in-between spaces to create alternative narratives.

Tobias Zielony (b. 1973 in Wuppertal) studied documentary photography at the University of Wales from 1998 to 2001. He completed his studies there in 2001 and went on to become a master student of Timm Rautert at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, or Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig. Zielony’s work has featured in numerous solo exhibitions, most recently at the Museum Folkwang Essen (2021), Blitz Valletta, Malta (2019), Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal (2017), and Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2013). He has also contributed to group exhibitions and biennials including the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale (2021) and shows at Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2020), Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2020), and Fotomuseum Winterthur (2019), as well as RIBOCA, the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018) and the 56th Venice Biennale, German Pavillon (2015).

Tobias Zielony
Hurd’s Bank, 2019
1-channel HD video, color, sound
14:55 min.
Courtesy of the artist and KOW, Berlin
Text Cynthia Krell
Übersetzung Amy Patton

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4.21 Laure Prouvost
Lick In The Past

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4.21 Laure Prouvost
Lick In The Past
15.7–14.10.21
“When we move by night at the speed of desire
With you at the wheel my limit goes higher
Just turn me on, you turn me on
You are my petrol, my drive, my dream, my exhaust.”
Lyric from the song Vroom
Text
Laure Prouvost

In the video Lick In The Past (2016), shot in an abandoned parking lot in downtown Los Angeles, hip teenagers meet in the city, improvise lyrics and act according to a secret script by the artist.
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They can be seen having a good time, talking about banal and surreal things, licking their mobile phones, posing, touching each other and other bodies as if by accident, driving around LA by car. The amateur protagonists infuse their lines with slang and their own expressions as the narrator, Laure Prouvost herself, whispers alliterations, onomatopoeias, and puns. The artist juxtaposes this urban scenario with footage from her video We Will Go Far (2015), a work featuring young people in rural France who ride a motorcycle to escape their everyday lives. The LA clique’s escape vehicle of choice is a white car. We see them gliding along highways, past building facades, parking garages, deserts, and beach promenades—LA comes to life as both a place of longing and the setting for countless movies. Also evoked are Edward Rucha’s iconic black-and-white photographs of LA from the 1960s and 1970s—images taken following a rigorous cartographic and Conceptual approach, but whose very conciseness has solidified their place among the archetypes of American culture and landscape.

Counteracting these cityscapes, especially at the beginning of the video work, are sometimes idyllic, sometimes unruly images of animals and nature. Examples include grazing cows, fish gasping for air, or a paintbrush acting as an octopus. In a short sequence of images, the artist herself appears to be eating a dead bird—not a cruel fantasy, but an art historical reference to the 1927 painting Jeune fille mangeant un oiseau (Le Plaisir) by René Magritte (1898–1967). Prouvost draws on a large repertoire of visual references and motifs that recur throughout her body of work, among them animals (fish, octopus, cow, bird), liquids (water, honey, milk, silicone, oil), consumer goods (car, motorcycle, mobile phone), and body parts (female breast, hands). She virtuosically montages significant individual shots to create surreal images and silly, exaggerated metaphors, but also to evoke expressly erotic associations and clichés that nevertheless have a very immediate impact on the viewer, potentially setting their own imaginations in motion. Consciously creating visual overstimulation while adhering to the artistic principle of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, videos in Prouvost’s exhibitions are often embedded in elaborate, meticulously-staged spatial installations. These typically deserted-seeming settings have something of a dystopian, toxic quality; destroyed (consumer) objects appear strewn on the floor under a poured-over layer of an epoxide-like, hardening liquid—a second skin. Complementing this are pieces of found or specially-made furniture, posters, signs, wallpaper, sculptures, or drawings, all creating a sensually condensed atmosphere between fantasy and desire, reality and déjà vu.

Laure Prouvost’s film is and remains ambivalent to viewers, at once idyllic and rebellious, naive and refined, obscene and sensual, unique and universal. The teenage road movie shows an attempt to flee mundane daily routines, which usually end at home. A never-ending escape from one’s own skin, one’s own history, one’s own life. The serene landscape is polluted with motorcycle exhaust fumes; LA is de-romanticized thanks to its concrete ducts and runoff oil. The result is not least a deliberately orchestrated vertigo that entices us to dive into our own associations, worlds of thought or memories, to escape from everyday life for a moment, as words spoken at the beginning of the video suggest: “We could go far, far away… (humming) Follow me we could go far, far away. Come this way! (singing) We could go far, far…”

Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Prouvost is known for her lush, immersive videos and mixed-media installations. Interested in confounding linear narratives and expected associations between words, images, and meanings, she has said that her works are where “fiction and reality get really tangled.” At once seductive and jarring, her films consist of a rich, almost tactile assortment of images, sounds, spoken- and written sentences that appear and disappear in rapid, highly rhythmic cuts. These are often shown in installations filled with a dizzying array of found objects, sculptures, paintings, drawings, furniture, signs, and architectural assemblages, all based on themes and images from her films. Prouvost does not allow for passive viewing; throughout her work, she often speaks directly to the viewer, drawing them into her unruly, imaginative visions.

Laure Prouvost (born 1978, lives in Antwerp) is a graduate of Central St Martins and Goldsmiths University of London. She also participated in the LUX Associate Artists Programme. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2021); Lisson Gallery, London (2020); Kunsthalle Lisbon (2020); les Abattoirs, Toulouse, and LaM – Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut, Villeneuve d’Ascq (2020); M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (2019) and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018). Prouvost represented France in the 58th Venice Biennale (2019) and participated in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020). She is winner of the 2011 Max Mara Art Prize for Women and was awarded the Turner Prize in 2013.

Lick In The Past, 2016
single-channel video, color, sound
8:23 min.
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery carlier | gebauer, Berlin/Madrid
Text Cynthia Krell
Translation Amy Patton

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3.21 Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian
From Sea to Dawn

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3.21 Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian
From Sea to Dawn
1.5–14.7.21
Straight away, the video From Sea to Dawn (2016/17) begins with dramatic scenes unfolding on the Mediterranean Sea. We see people being rescued from overcrowded boats, but also floating in the water, stranded or lifeless bodies. Subsequent sequences appear as we know them from the news, as we have recorded them in our collective visual memory: More
scenes of lifesaving arrival on the beach; the provisioning of exhausted human beings; enormous piles of used life jackets; mobile masses of people making their way through Europe; dissuasive border fortifications and security forces; considerate helpers with food and bottles of water. The video ends, as indicated by the title, with an unstoppable human train running to meet the dawn. Shown without sound, it features subtitles that reflect the original soundtrack or journalistically comment on the footage, pointing to the images’ news-media origins.

And yet what we encounter here is not simply the bare media material itself pictures that never fail to roil us as European-socialized viewers, draw our sympathy, shock or even deaden us over time. Artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian create these moving paintings” by combining media images with found footage material, printing them as individual pictures and painting on them by hand. The painted-on lines, patterns, and embellishments often give rise to a very poetic defamiliarizing effect that brings both playful and grotesque-looking creatures to life. The video covers the individual faces of the migrants with ladybug wings, for example; figures in the human train sometimes appear as floating cloud-entities, as mythical creatures or even as part of a giant, meandering organism. Unexpected mirror effects give some sequences an almost surreal quality; we watch as human bodies or an inflatable boat take on lives of their own, morph and mutate into fantastical beings.

The alienation effects used here seem to force a distance to what it is that we actually believe we are looking at. As a gestural moment, the overpainting acts as a counterpoint to the media news images, overlapping and overlaying an often cruel or tragic reality. This painterly act wraps the depicted scenes and people in a (symbolic) second skin that also protects their privacy. The embellishments counter the news images circulated in the mass media with an alternative narrative of migration — one that does not relentlessly focus on the suffering of others, but creates an aesthetic space for reflection that slows down the process of reading the images and thus also demands a reaction from the viewer. The artists’ series of works not only translate the power of mass media and global inequalities through photography or the moving image; they also always imply questions about the possibilities of representation and an overwriting of the collective visual memory with counter-images.

Ramin Haerizadeh (born 1975, Tehran), Rokni Haerizadeh (born 1978, Tehran) and Hesam Rahmanian (born 1980, Knoxville) have been living and working together in Dubai since 2009. They work as individual artists independent of one another and also propagate a form of collaboration devoid of individuality. The artists met in Tehran in the mid-1990s and each continued to develop his own artistic signature. A few years later, they formed a loose collective and moved into a house in Dubai. The house — a creative site for developing such organically-grown collaborative works as installations, films, objects, and sculptures for exhibitions — is also home to their collection of artworks, mundane items, and found objects. Their exhibitions encompass a combination of perfomance, painting, collage, drawing, videos, and texts, which they often incorporate into site-specific and expansive installations. A first glance would suggest a focus on crises in the Middle East, investigating power structures, and topics of exile and migration in a historical dimension. Yet their works — subversive in terms of visual language and culturally complex in structure — also contain satirical scenes or expose the absurdity of the globalized world. Employed artistic strategies and elements include costumes, role-playing, performative objects, and homemade painting machines that they use to create their expansive installations. Another key component of their practice is exchange and collaboration with cultural practitioners, writers, and artists, who also they invite to participate in their exhibitions.

The trio’s works have featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and biennials worldwide. Solo exhibitions in recent years include those at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main (2020); Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2019); Officine Grandi Riparazioni, Turin (2018); MACBA, Barcelona (2017); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (2015); and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen (2015). Major group exhibitions include the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, (2020); the Toronto Biennial of Art (2019); the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (2019); the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2017); and the 9th Liverpool Biennial (2016).

From Sea to Dawn, 2016/17
Single-channel color video (rotoscopy), no sound
6:21 min.
Courtesy die Künstler und Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai
Text Cynthia Krell
Translation Amy Patton

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2.21 Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian
From March To April…2020

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2.21 Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian
From March To April…2020
15.4–30.4.21
The video From March to April… 2020 offers a glimpse of the artists’ day-to-day life in Dubai during the first lockdown. A long, crowded dining and working table is filmed in a bird’s eye view. We see the daily table setting as it appears before a meal with various, changing dishes of Persian cuisine. More
These images are overlaid with those showing such art materials and supplies as mixed paints, used brushes, differently-sized containers of water, open books and newspapers, countless painted-over copies of historical photographs, and other unfinished artworks. In some cases, the painted-over individual pictures form a seconds-long animation. Unlike the collective’s performance-based works, the artists themselves do not appear. But we do hear (their) male voices singing the days of the week in chorus: “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” Chanted at varying tempos, the named days of the week to bleed into one another, giving the words a mantra-like quality.

The video work serves as a kind of visual diary, albeit one in which the days have no specified date and the global-pandemic-induced state of emergency is not addressed. Instead the artists deliberately reduce everyday life to two, recurring activities — i.e. eating and artistic labor — for which the dining-slash-work table doubles as a randomly-arranged stage. As an overall composition, the table filmed from above recalls Daniel Spoerri’s “snare-picture” assemblages (Tableaux piège) from the 1960s. A key difference here is not only the time-based medium, but also the artists’ use of repetition as a structural element in the video: shots of everyday activities and a recitation of days of the week are repeated; a short piece of music and select verses of a poem by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish are blended in. The poetic insertion of such verses as “If I had two hearts / I wouldn’t regret” or “If I had two paths / I would choose the third” engender a kind of mental in-between space — one that uses literature to punctuate and momentarily disrupt the apparent monotony of day-to-day life.

These days have served as a kind of intensifier for the artists, forcing even more focus (than usual) on their art and thoughts. Life and labor in the collective is accompanied by rituals and condensed in the results of their work; the video illuminates this process for us, the viewers. And yet not only are we watching art in the making, we are also confronted with an open end. There is no social or political critique in From March to April… 2020 and its focus on everyday acts. Emerging instead are more personal notations on a “not anymore” or “not yet” — on an inbetweenness of space and time, a resonating chamber between loss and renewal. They document the fleetingness of a moment that also always speaks of changes to come.

Ramin Haerizadeh (born 1975, Tehran), Rokni Haerizadeh (born 1978, Tehran) and Hesam Rahmanian (born 1980, Knoxville) have been living and working together in Dubai since 2009. They work as individual artists independent of one another and also propagate a form of collaboration devoid of individuality. The artists met in Tehran in the mid-1990s and each continued to develop his own artistic signature. A few years later, they formed a loose collective and moved into a house in Dubai. The house — a creative site for developing such organically-grown collaborative works as installations, films, objects, and sculptures for exhibitions — is also home to their collection of artworks, mundane items, and found objects. Their exhibitions encompass a combination of perfomance, painting, collage, drawing, videos, and texts, which they often incorporate into site-specific and expansive installations. A first glance would suggest a focus on crises in the Middle East, investigating power structures, and topics of exile and migration in a historical dimension. Yet their works — subversive in terms of visual language and culturally complex in structure — also contain satirical scenes or expose the absurdity of the globalized world. Employed artistic strategies and elements include costumes, role-playing, performative objects, and homemade painting machines that they use to create their expansive installations. Another key component of their practice is exchange and collaboration with cultural practitioners, writers, and artists, who also they invite to participate in their exhibitions.

The trio’s works have featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions and biennials worldwide. Solo exhibitions in recent years include those at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main (2020); Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2019); Officine Grandi Riparazioni, Turin (2018); MACBA, Barcelona (2017); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (2015); and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen (2015). Major group exhibitions include the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, (2020); the Toronto Biennial of Art (2019); the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (2019); the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2017); and the 9th Liverpool Biennial (2016).

From March to April… 2020, 2020
Single-channel color video, sound
7:46 min.
Courtesy of the artists and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai
Text Cynthia Krell
Translation Amy Patton
Photo Ines Könitz

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1.20 Pakui Hardware
Extrakorporal

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1.20 Pakui Hardware
Extrakorporal
1.12–26.2.21
Pakui Hardware is interested in the close relationship between materiality, technology, and economics. Central to their work is the question as to how much technology has actually affected commerce and our physical-corporeal perception of reality. Their artistic pursuits involve explorations of automation, robotics, synthetic biology, and the significance of new materials. More
Merging in the artist duo’s sculptures, figures, and installations are various materials, images, and bodies, many of which recall futuristic or biological settings. Technical webbing and textiles meet transparent, ephemeral materials, combining into objects and installations that are at once organic- and synthetic-looking.

Visitors are submerged in Extrakorporal as if in a petri dish. Or could the exhibition space have opened a shamanic realm? Organs and tissues grow on the outside of bodies, the future behavior of which can only be speculated. Turritopsis jellyfish and sea urchin larvae are investigated cell-by-cell in search of a recipe for their immortality. Their self-generating and -organizing tissues are subject not only by the laws of biology, but to the laws of commerce as well: the bio-substances and -materials are channeled into lucrative projects, effectively converting them into abstract bio-values and an element of the economy.

Floating in space is an ostensibly familiar, yet all-but-incomprehensible object — a thing composed of such disparate materials as heat-molded Plexiglas, silicon, glass, and an assortment of fabrics (artificial leather, natural leather, slightly shiny textiles). Formally inspired by the richly-detailed, zoological glass models of father-son glassworkers Leopold (1822–1895) and Rudolf Blaschka (1857–1939) and the organic-seeming, transparent and delicate sculptures of artist Eva Hesse, it has the look of a ritual mask without the shaman. Evocative of a hybrid creature or trophy, the object recalls something that has been extracted from the vital essence or deathlessness of these sea creatures, as if that essence had taken on a life of its own. But does it still/also curative powers?

With Extrakorporal, Pakui Hardware once again uses artistic means to investigate the significance of bodies, performativity of materials and profit to be gained from biological substances. The sciences are only a starting point for their investigation. Pakui Hardware is just as interested in the underlying economic considerations reflected in the fundamental products and materials. Their focus is what Catherine Waldby and Robert Mitchell have called “tissue economies”¹: the effects of bio-capitalism and regenerative medical technologies that, for both therapeutic and economic reasons, rely increasingly on such human and animal-derived matter as skin, blood, and cellular material. Pakui Hardware attempts to translate the many interacting, disparate elements and topics in sculptural form. Just as researchers probe the inexplicable energies of self-regeneration by combining human substances with those from other species, artificial-industrial and organic forms are combined in the exhibition, merging to form a reality that is at once physically experienceable and altogether speculative. The space around our bodies becomes a petri dish, morphs into the symbolic expression of our eternal quest for immortality in the charged space between economics, science, and technology.

Pakui Hardware (1977 and 1984, Lithuania) live and work between Berlin and Vilnius. Upcoming solo exhibitions include those at Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren (2021); and BALTIC Art Center, Gateshead (2020). Past solo exhibitions include presentations at Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig (2019); Future Gallery, Mexico City (2019); Bielefelder Kunstverein (2018); Tenderpixel, London (2018); and mumok – Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, Vienna (2016). Past group exhibitions include MO.CO La Panacée, Montpellier (2020); the 7th Biennale Gherdëina (2020); the 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019); MAXXI, Rome (2019); the 13th Baltic Triennial at CAC, Vilnius (2018); BOZAR, Brussels (2018); Kunsthalle Basel (2017); and Kunstverein Braunschweig (2017).

Extrakorporal, 2018
Text Thomas Thiel
Excerpt from the companion essay to Pakui Hardware’s exhibition at Bielefelder Kunstverein, 2018.
Photo Ines Könitz

¹Robert Mitchell, Catherine Waldby (ed.), Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism, Duke University Press, March 2006.

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