Various Others 2023

Julia Scher, Greta, 2022, marble 40 x 76 x 30 cm. © Rolf K. Wegst. Courtesy: the artist and Drei, Cologne

Phones from a dog’s eyes, knock-off poetry, and archives archives archives: Spike’s editors recommend four shows opening during Munich’s marquee art event – and a weekend walking tour besides.

Jo Van De Loo hosting Drei, Cologne
Julia Scher & Sandra Slim
8 Sep – 27 Oct 2023

Sandra Slim, Stephie y la Changa, 2023

Sandra Slim, Stephie y la Changa, 2023, egg tempera and watercolors on canvas 40 x 60 cm. Courtesy: the artist and JO VAN DE LOO, Munich

Despite a lineage no less distinguished than that of its human counterpart, dog portraiture has been relegated by art-historical convention to a lower rung in its hierarchy of pictorial genre. A duo exhibition at DREI, from the woman-artists Julia Scher (*1954) and Sandra Slim (*1979), takes up man’s best friend as disregarded prisms of their times. Not unlike Tolstoy’s use of a horse’s perspective to comically decouple the notion of private property in “Kholstomer” (1886), the enrapturement of a canine by a blue-light screen in Scher’s Planet Greyhound (2022) troubles the automatism of digital gazing. The tempera-and-watercolor hound in Slim’s desertscape stephie y la changa (2023), meanwhile, works in reverse, as the slapstick apparition of a black lab handling a wheelieing dirt bike calcifies into an achingly uncanny memory.

Kunstverein München

Noor Abuarafeh, “Resistive Narratives
9 Sep – 19 Nov 2023

Still from Noor Abuarafeh, Am I the Ageless Object at the Museum?, 2018

Still from Noor Abuarafeh, Am I the Ageless Object at the Museum?, 2018, video, color, and sound, 15:08 min. Courtesy: the artist

How fitting that Noor Abuarafeh’s (*1986) solo debut in Germany should occur in the country’s oldest contemporary art institution, the Kunstverein München, on the heels of an extensive exhibition of archival documents dating back to its founding in 1823. “Resistive Narratives” adds a new video production to her existing body of films, which are centrally addressed to the power of the archive to commit subjects to and omit truths from the documentation, storytelling, and hermeneutics of history. Her work, in turn, is suggestive of forms of remembering dyssynchronous with the modern regimentation of time, further confounding the premises for distinguishing truth from fiction.

Lothringer 13 Halle

On Listening
8 Sep – 12 Nov 2023

Still from Maria Margolina, traces of continuity II / a motif as old as time exists, 2023

Still from Maria Margolina, traces of continuity II / a motif as old as time exists, 2023. © Maria Margolina

If listening is to be an act of composing, to borrow from the maestro of silence John Cage, then it must command a fuller and more agentic kind of attention, one that itself conspires with vibration in the endowment of sound. Punctuated by a program of public events, a group show at the Au district municipal art space Lothringer 13 Halle invites its audience to test the byways of that contention. With contributions from visual artist and poet Helen Cammock, DJ Ashley Holmes, and composer Hui Ye, as well as the organizations Forum Queer Archive Munich and the broadcaster Radio 80000, among others, “On Listening” promises harmony, cacophony, and all the slow aural coming to terms with how bodies fidget in their seats.

Britta Rettberg hosting blank projects, Cape Town

Lerato Shadi, “Tsela di matlapa
9 Sep – 21 Oct 2023

Still from Lerato Shadi, Mabogo Dinku, 2019

Still from Lerato Shadi, Mabogo Dinku, 2019, single-channel video with audio, 6 min. Courtesy: blank projects, Cape Town

What comes of a story that is written forward, traced backward, spelled out mirrored? In performance artist Lerato Shadi’s (*1979) “River of Thoughts,” a new series of marker drawings on paper and linen on view at Britta Rettberg, red-thread linear progressions throng into tangled loops, drawing text along the logic of the water cycle: what courses in such a seemingly orderly way out to sea is repeatedly drawing over itself, slightly changed with each pass. In denaturing or renaturing the boundaries of the West’s given histories, Shadi invites not only new introductions to these narratives’ constitutive parts, but new authorship of what these parts might eventually contain.

Ruine München at Schwabinger Tor

Shanzhai Lyric, “Babylon Schwabylon
8 Sep & 10 Sep 2023 at 16h

Shanzhai Lyric, Incomplete Poem (detail), 2015–ongoing

Shanzhai Lyric, Incomplete Poem (detail), 2015–ongoing. Courtesy: the artists and MIT School of Architecture and Planning

Despite the commonplace, imitation is understood in many quarters to work at cross-purposes to flattery: The US Patent and Trademark Office estimated the global annual value of sales in counterfeit goods at as much as 4.5 trillion dollars. Organized by the collective Shanzhai Lyric, which has worked since 2015 to archive the incidental poeticism of Chinese-manufactured knock-off garments (recent T-shirt texts include SCHOOL RUINED MY UFF, I DON’T / “SING-A-LONG”, and Superman / see a fairy tale world), a pair of walking tours around Schwabinger Tor, a corporately sanitized residential district once the site of Germany’s most avant-garde mall, portends to show that not all fakery comes at luxury’s expense – just as some nonsense can be bookkept as profit.


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