22 April 2013, Cervera de los Montes
Last fall, Tuomo and me, two Western European white male artists were drinking beer onboard M/S Superstar sailing from Helsinki to Tallinn, a traditional destination of Finnish men for cheap booze and sex.
We talked about the supposedly post-colonial and politically correct art world which, however, showcases constantly stereotypes of exotic othernesses with obscene simplicity and prejudice.
I told to Tuomo about the orientalist attitude that had been reported to me by several colleagues from the Middle East – for example an Arab female artist who had been asked to exhibit works featuring burqa imagery although she works with totally different visual and conceptual themes and a Levantine painter who was happy to exhibit in the renowned Mori Art Museum in Tokyo but complained that she was once again included in a show more for her nationality and gender than a genuine interest towards her oeuvre and attitude. Mori Art Museum advertised its exhibition Arab Express with slogans like Does the Arab World seem distant and foreign?
Why is it so difficult to understand that all artists, independently of their age, gender, race, nationality and religion, wish to be credited as good artists without prefixes like Asian, Arab, Muslim, Jew, black, female or gay?
Tuomo and me got then an idea of a show titled White Man Panorama that wouldn’t analyze white man’s burden but celebrates the clichés equivalent to burqas in orientalist shows: lager beer, team sports, dream cars and big boobs. All selected artist would be male, white, Western, straight and beerbellied.
15 April 2013, Cervera de los Montes
The propaganda of our Western governments on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea aimed at us, their citizens, is totally schizophrenic. We are told that the North Koreans are stupid, backward and underdeveloped. The capitalist-controlled press laughs that probably their missiles are decoy, made of cardboard, and that they will never be capable to build a functioning nuclear weapon.
On the other hand, our propaganda machine says that the DPRK is dangerous and can attack us any moment with nuclear warheads carried by sophisticated missiles.
We have been informed that North Korea doesn't posses any up-to-date technology but South Korea and the United States accuse them of last month's cyberattack that shut down 50000 computers and servers at South Korean broadcasters and banks last month.
Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct. The word was coined by George Orwell in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary.
11 April 2013, Cervera de los Montes
Laundry is important to my practice as artist. Daily homemaking activities combined with my studio work emphasize my attachment to everyday life, masses and their fears and dreams. I'm not a champagne-sipping airport lounge artist but a cloth-washing supermarket artist.
Last week in Ljubljana, Krista asked me how to wash clothes and get them really immaculate and balmy. These are my tips.
1. STAIN REMOVAL
I use stain removal products in spray, one for greasy spots and other for blood, tomato etc. directly on the dirty area five minutes before the machine wash. I soak totally white clothes in bleach up to 30 minutes. Don't mix stain removal chemicals with bleach.
I wash most of the clothes in 40 degrees. For wool and some other delicate textiles I use a hand-wash program. I wash linens in 60 degrees.
I have four different detergents: a) colored, b) white c) black d) delicate. I like detergent in gel or liquid but never in powder or tabs. I use also extra activator detergent which I have two kinds, for white and colored. For very white clothes I replace the activator with bleach. The activator is always inserted before the main detergent.
Don't trust the instructions, use double or triple amount of conditioner, this gives the fragrant and smooth finish to your clothes. Don't use conditioner for technical water resistant or fragile textiles.
Avoid dryer. Hang the clothes outside but don't leave them in sunlight more than necessary. If you have to use a dryer, don't dry the clothes totally but enough to be ironed. Use in the dryer plastic drying balls and conditioner tissues to avoid bad smell.
Don't spray water on the clothes but ironing spray with starch and conditioner.
06 April 2013, Flight JP158 Ljubljana - Munich
I'm on my way back to home and reading the late Slovene curator Igor Zabel's interesting book Contemporary Art Theory (don't be frightened for the boring title). I liked a lot Ljubljana and its small but surprising art scene. I went with Katja to see our Finnish friend Jyrki Riekki's nightmares at P. Nemec Gallery and then continued the exhibition tour to Evan Roth's flight jokes at Aksioma, Koen Vanmechelen's living chickens at Kapelica and Miroslav Cukovic's toilet papers at the International Center of Graphic Arts.
We climbed to the Ljubljana Castle where we enjoyed the views over the city and Mirsad Begic's exhibition curated by Jadranka who is the director of Galerija Alktraz hosting our show. Another exhibition at the castle perplexed us - It looked like kids' play room but was a celebration of the Camel cigarette brand. 100% advertising in a 100% public space. Katja had a smart idea - she told the American exhibition host how much she would love to paint a plastic camel for the tobacco company. Naturally, she would use it for her own purposes. Sometimes I'm not the fastest and the most evil rebel.
MSUM - The Museum of Contemporary Art is a great example that all the museums are not just pretexts to build gift shops, cafeterias and champagne lounges decorated with the logos of the sponsors. Nothing unnecessary and no populism here. Art as difficult as it can get. 10 points for Slovenia. MSUM is located next to the graffiti covered Metelkova, where you find also Alktraz Gallery hosting our show. Metelkova is the former headquarters of the Yugoslav National Army, squatted since twenty years. It's a site for artists' studios, cultural organizations and several discotheques including special clubs for gays, lesbians and disabled. In the nocturne time you can move freely in between the clubs with a beer bought in any of the bars - at least if you are with Jernej, who is, in addition of being our curator, the manager of Tiffany gay club.
MG+ - The Museum of Modern Art astonished us with its collection, especially the paintings from the 60s and 70s. It had absolutely nothing to do with the anti-communist idea of socialist realism. Gabrijel Stupica is now one of my top ten painters. I don't remember when was the last time that an art work touched me so deeply. Now I remember why I decided to be an artist and not a terrorist. Igor Zabel writes that (the true professional in the field of art) has decided on his vocation for the sake of art itself (...). Then, as a true professional, he naturally begins to hate it (otherwise, he would be a dilettante and not a professional). But, in his unconditional love for it, he overlooks and forgives all its shortcomings, even his own hatred.