Archive of Eva Heisler

Eva Heisler is an American poet and art critic based near Heidelberg, Germany. Recent publications include the catalog essay for Katrin Sigurdardottir: The Icelandic Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale and a chapter on Ragnar Kjartansson for Bastard or Playmate? Adapting Theatre, Mutating Media and the Contemporary Performing Arts (University of Amsterdam Press, 2012). Poetry publications include Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Kore Press, 2012) and Drawing Water (Noctuary Press, 2013).

Eva has written 5 article(s) for AFC.

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Eva Heisler

Yoko Ono: Future Mornings from the Past

by Eva Heisler on May 10, 2013
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“We’re all water in different containers,” writes Ono in 1967. “But even after the water’s gone we’ll probably point to the containers and say, ‘that’s me there, that one.’” Ono concludes, “We’re container minders.”

Guilty as charged. I am a furtive container-minder. But wandering through YOKO ONO: HALF-A-WIND SHOW at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, the most comprehensive survey of Ono’s career to date, I soon give up trying to pin Ono’s work to a given practice or idea.

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Jacob Kassay at Art : Concept: Reflection or Deflection?

by Eva Heisler on March 29, 2013
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First, let me confess: I’ve never seen a painting by Jacob Kassay.

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Don’t Call it a Scene: Belgian Art Gets a Fittingly Patchy Survey

by Eva Heisler on August 6, 2012
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Un-Scene II, curated by Elena Filipovic and Anne-Claire Schmitz, is the second installment of what is to be a triennial inquiry into the practices of Belgium-based artists. It is not, however, a show about Belgian artists. Half the artists are non-Belgian. Rather, the ambition is to investigate art-making at this particular moment in Belgium.

Since its inaugural show in 2009, Un-Scene’s curatorial approach has been characterized by its resistance to any impulse to define a Belgian “scene”. Because Belgium is composed of two primary language communities, attempts to define Belgian art are dismissed as “mischievous” by curators Devrim Bayar, Charles Gohy and Dirk Snauwaert in the catalogue for the first Un-Scene. Stereotypes such as “French-speaking artists [tend] toward sardonic humour and language games, whilst Flemish artists … tend toward melancholic descriptions and mystifications” are avoided by including artists actively working in Belgium, regardless of citizenship.

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Manifesta: “Something old and tyrannical burning there”

by Eva Heisler on July 3, 2012
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“A portable climate.” That’s what Ralph Waldo Emerson called coal. “Every basket is power and civilization,” he wrote in 1860. Coal is not only a portable climate but “it is the means of transporting itself whithersoever it is wanted,” Emerson added, noting “a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta.”

Writing 100 years later, Thomas McGrath contrasts coal fire to wood fire in his poem “A Coal Fire in Winter.” With a coal fire, there is “[s]omething old and tyrannical burning there.” This is “heat / From the time before there was fire.” Coal, compressed plant matter accumulated over 100,000 years, is the legacy of a “sunken kingdom” and its flames are “carbon serpents of bituminous gardens.”

Coal—as fuel, as fossil, as material, as metaphor, as “black gold,” as historical force—is the starting point of Manifesta 9, situated in the main building of the former Waterschei mining facility in Genk, Belgium.

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Wesley Meuris: The Form of Captivity

by Eva Heisler on June 5, 2012
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Belgian artist Wesley Meuris is preoccupied with the relationship between the built environment and human behavior, and his solo exhibition R-05.Q-IP.0001, at the Casino Luxembourg through September 2, focuses on the ways in which museums stage encounters with objects. With architectural drawings and diagrams as well as objects and installations, the exhibition examines a range of museum practices, including classifying, archiving, and marketing.

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