STORY: Gao Shiqiang * The Gallery at Hermes: New York, NY


May 4th - May 25th, a video and sound installation in four Chinese ceramic jars


POIRET KING OF FASHION * Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, NY


May 9th - August 5th, at the Met's Costume Institute, made possible by Balenciaga

Claire K Stringer: Gitana Rosa (in support of the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

It's Not Funny
Friday, March 23 rd – Monday, April 23rd
Opening Reception: March 23rd  
7 – 10pm
Musical Performance by The Lisps 9pm

19 HOPE STREET (between Roebling and Havemeyer St)

Fillip's Vancouver Launch: Wednesday, March 28, 7-9pm


The Fillip Reivew Launches its 5 issue!

Vancouver Launch: Wednesday, March 28, 7-9pm

Brickhouse, 730 Main Street

This event is held in conjunction with Artspeak and Arsenal Pulp Press and their release of Vancouver Art & Economies edited by Melanie O'Brian with essays by Clint Burnham, Randy Lee Cutler, Tim Lee, Sadira Rodrigues, Marina Roy, Sharla Sava, Reid Shier, Shepherd Steiner and Michael Turner.

Issue Five Content

Our latest issue features Christian L. Frock's essay on the ascension of the global star curator From (Starry Eyed) Vision to Nail and Robert Eikmeyer's interview with Slavoj Žižek entitled The Day After. Kathleen Ritter reports from Bucharest on the conference Regimes of Representation which took up questions concerning the recent conversion of the Ceausescu-built state palace into the new Romanian parliament building-cum-state art gallery.

As always, Fillip regards its international exhibition reviews as feature content: Joseph Mosconi peels away the layers of the Aurie Ramirez exhibition at the Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles; Clint Burnham sifts through the videos of Eric Van Lieshout at the Boijmans Museum Rotterdam; Jessie Birch and Nicholas Brown pair up to access the twin Jeremy Deller exhibitions held in Toronto; Colleen Brown interprets Geoffrey Farmer's new project at the Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver; Michael Eddy identifies the key issues of artistic anonymity in Anonym at the Schirn Kunstalle Frankfurt; Nate Lippens compares two Alex Schweder installations in Seattle; Sara Mameni considers the implications of cybernetics and the recent Kristin Lucas show at the Or Gallery, Vancouver; Liz Bruchet takes a look at Carlos Amorales at the Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires; and Patrik Andersson considers the recent passing of Pontus Hulten.

Cheryl Meszaros performs a reading of two new new Jean-Luc Nancy books in relation to a video installation by Ruth Beer; while Aaron Peck questions the uptake of spatial strategies in Did Someone Say Participate?: An Atlas Of Spatial Practice.

Three new artist projects have been especially commissioned for this issue: Charles Gute's Super Curators!, a work from Germaine Koh's ongoing text archive, and Matilda Aslizadeh's Scourge of the Beast-With-Two-Backs.


Again and Again: Julia Chiang * Kantor / Feuer Window

Julia Chiang
Again and Again
Hand etched vintage and found mirrors

Kantor / Feuer Window
10th Ave. between 25th and 26th Street
February 21st - March 28th

and a short film of the installation

Artists Space Benefit

Artists Space 

For more information, contact Christopher Politan at

Forest of Fantasy: The Lab at The Roger Smith Hotel


The Roger Smith Hotel’s Art Gallery, The Lab, presents Forest of Fantasy where dancers perform in a Fantastical Forest created in a Midtown Manhattan store front.

Check it out March 23rd at 47th St and Lexington Ave

Dance Performances at 6pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of both weeks

Installation up 24/7 for two weeks



Check out Liza Bear's mini-films at Squaring Off , particularly the opening of Wrestle at the new Hessel Art Museum at Bard and Betty Comden in 2003 at the Film Forum: "All Our Work Ain't Been in Vain for Nothin".


GILLES BARBIE: CARRE D'ART * Museé d'Art Contemporain in Nîmes, France

Gilles Barbier’s remarkably ambitious exhibition at the Carré d'Art Museé d'Art Contemporain in Nîmes (Southern France) plays pithily with many current intellectual strands which interest me: net culture, artificial intelligence, image profusion, micro-organisms and science fiction (among others). But what struck me as most exact to its weird visual propositions was its deep reflection (one might even say brooding) on the theme of ignobility, and this grubbily shifted something in my head.

In this multi-gallery installation Barbier mixes frantically composed hand-made graphics—which display a mordantly witty obsession with language—and often wistfully perverse hyper-real sculptures. Immediately one feels his sense of dark humor—despite it being tied to a grueling work ethic. A peripatetic mind is clearly sensed behind such diverse, but hyper-linked, work—even while sensing an overall conveyance of longing connected to an acute awareness of death. If I may presume to decode such a wide range of ideas and styles used here, I would say that Barbier is attempting to give us a visual free verse for which we are unprepared, a visual sagacity that tests the limits of form and stretches the bounds of meaning by recasting our experiences of encountering wildly disjunctive data on the internet into the sumptuously physicality of negation.

Taken as a lapidary whole, Barbier’s work delivers this punch of negation by tying together methods of insouciant informality with a visceral camp irony: at turns hip and flamboyant—then turning towards the morally outrageous. Art here physically embodies the disappearing ephemeral we associate with electronically provided information today on the internet, and the flickering of its translucent form. Still the viewer is expected to work devotedly to solve the visual conundrums supplied here, to supply mental transitions between the diverse and massive assortment of graphics and sculptural elements (which supply the hooks). One must fabricate a complicated forensic story out of this grisly mélange, which keeps slipping in and out of idiosyncratic narration. And that recitation keeps turning back into one about stinking death, that strange incurable affliction. Humiliating death in all its undifferentiated fabulousness, by which I mean its essentially nasty comedy. Funny, difficult death then, which while pulling down our pants and revealing our soiled undies, keeps everyone laughing (or at least gurgling). But also there is here an awareness of impertinent splendor in the tranquility of decomposition, which makes it all seem faintly heroic in face of death’s inexorability.

We know of its putrid ignobility but will not give in. And this is what gives the work a strange sense of dignity, which asserts life’s primacy over death. Life, plus art, as paradox, because it is beyond narration and words. So this is art which does not merely help us pass the time, but which enlivens it, if we surrender to its fearful difficulty. Barbier’s work here provides the chance to do the counter-fearful thing, to look at what we fear so that effort will help release us from fear’s grip. Then we can get over it and so enjoy life all the more. Then the ignobility of death can be ignored, and dignity restored—for now.

Gilles Barbier Carré d'Art -Museé d'Art Contemporain Place de la Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France

YVES KLEIN * The Centre Pompidou / Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris

5 OCT. 06 - 5 FEB. 07

The exhibition will also be presented at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien (Vienna, Austria) from 9 March 9th to June 3rd, 2007

Long live the immaterial!
-Yves Klein, The Chelsea Hotel Manifesto

Yves Klein is for me, and many others, the most important French artist after Henri Matisse. This may sound somewhat appalling to some, as Klein enjoyed only a very concise, but invigorating, seven-year artistic career. But I will clarify this controversial judgment by pointing out his historic relevance to our era of digital culture. The emphasis here will be on Klein’s conceptual articulation of the spatial and the ephemeral/immaterial in relationship to our current actual state of virtuality. Indeed the subtitle of the exhibition, CORPS, COULEUR, IMMATÉRIEL (Body, Color, Immaterial), itself brings out the salient viractual (*1) aspects of Klein's art.

Yves Klein’s own lived life is the first major example of the ephemeral. Klein was born near Nice in a village called Canges-sur-Mer in 1928 of artist parents; Fred Klein, a figurative painter, and Marie Raymond, an abstract painter in the tradition of the École de Paris. He died unexpectedly in 1962 of a heart attack shortly after seeing the sensationalizing Yves Klein segment of Gualtiero Jacopetti’s Mondo Cane exploitation film at its Canne Film Festival debut at the young age of 34. He was at the height of his fame.

On entering this exhibition the viewer is immediately introduced to the fact that Klein first studied Oriental languages, Zen philosophy and Judo via a highly accomplished digital presentation which was augmented by a plethora of photographs, drawings and texts. Indeed Klein achieved black-belt stature in Judo and taught and wrote a book about the subject after spending fifteen months at the Kodokan Institute in Tokyo. He then went on to found his own Judo school in Paris, making a living teaching Judo from 1955 to 1959. He also played music in a jazz band.

With such a basis in sport and music performance, Klein easily brought his theoretical concerns around space, color and painting into the theatricality of conceptual and performance art and thus negated and undermined the classical work of art object, dissolving art into action and thus styling himself into an artistic personality in a way that anticipated the strategies of Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys and Orlan. His staging of even the minutest details and the orchestration of their documentation and framed reception, along with his linking of art and technology, make him a most relevant figures for current art practice.

What was not pointed out in the show very well was that in 1948, at age 20, Klein discovered a book by Max Heindel (1865-1919) which teaches the basic beliefs of an esoteric Christian sect called the Rosicrucians. Klein obsessively studied the book for five years, and after coming to Paris in 1955, began to refer to himself as an initiate in the sect (he was made a Knight of the Order of Archers of Saint Sebastian) and was married to the beautiful Rotrault Uecker (now Rotrault Klein-Moquay) within it’s highly flamboyant and ritualistic ceremony. This exceedingly formal marriage is presented further on in the show in a delightful color documentary film.

Based on the Rosicrucian metaphysical ideology, Klein avowed to indicate to the world a new age, the Age of Space. In the Age of Space, boundless spirit would exist free of form, objects would levitate, and humans would travel liberated from their body. This contextual understanding is essential for understanding Klein’s artistic importance, as this ideology of the immaterial informs all his work, even the paintings but most explicitly such conceptual-technological works as the Sculpture aérostatique (1957) which was the release of 1001 balloons, and the Illumination de l'Obélisque (1958) in the Place de la Concorde. Indeed, the exhibition reinstates Klein's metaphysical ideology as the basis of his ephemeral actions as equal to his monochrome paintings. Definitely the well-known IKB blue monochrome were for him no more than an introduction to his ideological "blue revolution", which he saw as the diffusion of immaterial pictorial sensibility throughout the whole cosmos, both visible and invisible. So blue color was for Klein was not pigment and binder but a spiritual, cosmic force that stimulates the entire environment, transforming life itself into a work of art.

Admittedly, Klein's idea of pure virtual open space (free from form) was first actualized in his blue monochrome paintings, where the bisecting nature of line was rejected in favor of an even, all-over, ultramarine-blue color which he called IKB (International Klein Blue). However, later some of his monochromes were painted pink or gold. The Ex-voto dédié à Sainte-Rita (1961) which was deposited by Klein at the Convent of Santa Rita in Cascia, Italy (and presented for the first time at this exhibition) is valuable evidence of the importance of pink and gold alongside blue in Klein's imaginative, viractual, and ephemeral universe.

Of course Klein, by all accounts, was not all theory. He was a showman too. In 1957, not long after the appearance of the first monochromes in 1955, Klein turned to the further exploration of the immaterial aspect of his art through act and gesture. His exhibitions of evanescent performance works, ephemeral sculptures in fire or water, sound works, "air architectures" and artistic appropriation of the entirety of space (extending to the whole cosmos) were all manifestations of the ephemera and invisible idea that for him is the essential experience of art itself.

We must remember when gazing into his luxurious blue paintings that Klein's interests in open areas of color and light, in vibrating voids, and in sheer saturated colors emptied of figurative presence are primarily directed towards space's and color’s aoristic qualities, qualities which subsequently will interest future generations of ambient-oriented artists and digital artists.

Most notably, in 1958 Klein went beyond the monochrome rectilinear canvas with a distinguished ephemeral and immersive presentation titled Le Vide (The Void), which was held at Galerie Iris Clert in Paris. For this exhibition Klein cleaned out and whitewashed the gallery and "impregnated" the empty space with his consciousness; filling the freshly whitened gallery (emptied of figurative presence) with Le Vide, through which Klein led small groups.

I consider this installation to be of utmost importance to the identification of the immersive ideals of virtual reality in that it crystallizes the body’s entrance into a consciousness of aoristic space. (*2)

Further along these lines, in early-1961 Klein installed, as part of his retrospective at Museum Haus Lange in Krefeld Germany, another immersive walk-in installation called Raum der Leere (Room of the Void) in reference to his Le Vide which consisted of a 285 by 442 by 172 centimetre room (approximately 9 by 14 by 5.6 feet) painted white (with slightly rough textured surface) lit by neon lamps. This work is documented through photographs and drawings in the exhibit.

Also notable is Klein's faux Leap into the Void: Man in Space! The Painter of Space Throws Himself into the Void! of 1960 of course deserves some mention concerning immaterial idea art. Klein’s famous photomontage Leap into the Void, which depicts him floating above a street, is a symbol of the desire to overcome gravity and thus enter into the unlimited aspects of virtuality. It is a manifestation of Klein’s will to transcend limits, which runs through his entire oeuvre.

Beginning in 1960 Klein devoted himself increasingly to the immaterial aspects of fire as a medium to express elemental energy. I very much liked and respected the Cosmogonies “paintings” on view here, which capture the imprint of wind, of rain. Fire and air, two invisible fluids that Klein officially claimed as his own, give rise to works both real (fire paintings) and utopian; such as his air architecture projects and his schemes for planetary air-conditioning. But the gorgeous color film of Klein painting various Anthropometries through the use of "living paintbrushes" (i.e. female nudes) in a black dinner jacket while his proto-minimalist one note Monotone Symphony(1949) is performed is certainly one of the high points in the show, even though it perhaps was responsible for his death after he viewed it in the dreadful context of the Mondo Cane film. The music is performed brilliantly live as the nude models paint each other from the buckets of lush IKB Blue paint, gently pressing their naked bodies against the canvas that had been placed on wall and floor - while Klein (wearing white gloves) directs them verbally, never touching the paint or the bare models. (*3)

This is, needless to say, a highly ephemeral way to paint which pointed the way towards (and then away from) the Nouveaux Réalistes (New Realists), the French post-war avant-garde movement which was organized and theorized by the French poet and art critic Pierre Restany (1930-2003). The core issue of the Nouveaux Réalistes was the conception of art as formed by “real” elements, that is, materials taken from the world directly rather than formed pictorially. Influenced by Yves Klein and the general anti-rationalism that opposed the machine-like logic which underlay the killing efficiency of aerial war, many artists followed in these deep but shifting footsteps.

Despite numerous retrospectives, among them the exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in 1983, much of Klein's immaterial-oriented work remained somewhat unknown until recently. In bringing together 120 paintings and sculptures, some 40 drawings and manuscripts and a great number of contemporary films and photographs, this exhibition offered me a new reading of Klein's work, this time in the context of virtuality. Adhering as faithfully as possible to the artist's own intentions as revealed in his recently published writings, the design of the exhibition brought out the importance that Klein accorded to the diverse aspects of his artistic practice: not only painting and sculpture, but also immaterial performances, sound works, interventions in public spaces, architectural projects and, most essentially, immaterial art theory. This diverse oeuvre, all produced during a period of just seven years, is indeed impressive as much of it anticipated the trends of Happening and Performance Art, Land Art, Body Art, Conceptual Art and Digital Art. Thus it has had an, ironically, a durable influence on art through its essential interest in and expressions of the immaterial.

(*1) The basis of the viractual conception is that virtual producing computer technology has become a significant means for making and understanding contemporary art and that this brings us artists to a place where one finds the emerging of the computed (the virtual) with the uncomputed corporeal (the actual). This merge – which tends to contradict some dominant techno clichés of our time - is what I call the ‘viractual’. This blending of computational virtual space with ordinary viewable space indicates the subsequent emergence of a new topological cognitive-vision of connection between the computed virtual and the uncomputed corporeal world.

(*2) Aorist is a classical Greek spatial term which was used when discussing an occurrence without limitations. Aorist literally means without horizons.

(*3) A short film, with a non monotone sound track, of a Klein painting performance can be viewed on-line at:


Joseph Nechvatal

October 2006