Christian Jankowski: Crying for the march of humanity

For some reason or other this post from Christian Jankowski show in Mexico city in Feb 2012, went unpublished, so we are publishing it now for Flashback Friday!

Christian Jankowski gave a talk at Soma the week before his show in Mexico city where he talked about his art school days antics, “hunting” his food with a bow and arrow at the supermarket and employing a team of security guards to stand outside his house so that his guests could come in and feel “safe”. He also showed more recent projects including a casting for Jesus he did with the Vatican, as well as his hilarious Venice Biennale piece Telemistica in which he called different Italian tv psychics to ask for their advice on his work. The talk was a great introduction to his style and a good precursor for his exhibition at Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico city.

Crying for the March of Humanity welcomed visitors with a row of televisions playing a Mexican newscast, only the newscaster isn’t delivering news but talking about Christian Jankowski and his art practice in full-on art jargon. It’s Jankowski’s video installation, Discourse News where he, along with the exhibition coordinator wrote the text for the newscaster to read. For this exhibition Jankowski also worked with Televisa, (Mexico’s biggest and most powerful tv network) to create new work.  La Que No Podia Amar, is a classic Mexican telenovela using the cast and set from a real show currently on the air. It’s all very typical except the actors are communicating entirely with tears, sobs and looks (a great way to deal with language barriers for a German artist presenting in Mexico).

Incorporating his concepts in pre-existing mediums, mainly video, not only saves time and production costs but most importantly it creates an instant collaboration with unexpected and often humorous results. The opening of Crying for the March of Humanity was no exception.

The vernissage was unfolding in an ordinary manner, with drinks being served and the usual art crowd mingling, until it took a “peculiar” turn (the words of the curator). The actors from the telenovela started arriving at the gallery with their bodyguards, photographers and entourage and in true celebrity fashion began getting photographed and interviewed. The style clash was undeniable. The art crowd was looking around confused, their intellectual world suddenly invaded by the subjects of tabloid magazines. Some foreign attendees didn’t understand what was happening only that it was a “fucking weird crowd” (actual comment). Luckily for me as an avid TV Notas reader I’m up to date with the Mexican tv celebs and knew exactly what the fuss was all about!

While maybe not intentional, the clash created by the mixing of these two different worlds takes Jankowski’s work from a hilarious video piece to a full blown happening. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the video (and the rest of the exhibition which was also interesting) but I have to admit I loved experiencing the situation (and seeing the stars up close!) much much more.


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