press release

Invisible Script (A Letter to Morel)

The French guest curator Francois Piron (1972) has organized a group exhibition for W139, with works by the artists Boris Achour, Saadane Afif, Francois Curlet, Ryan Gander, Jean-Baptiste Ganne, Dora Garcia, Laurent Grasso, Marine Hugonnier and Philippe Parreno.

The show that Francois Piron has organized for W139 was partially inspired by the novel La invencion de Morel (1940) by the Argentinean author Adolfo Bioy Casares. Casares describes how, after a long journey, an anonymous fugitive arrives at a desert island. After some time a mysterious group of 'characters' suddenly appear on the island. The narrator tries in vain to come into contact with them. He finally concludes that they are not real people, but hyper-realistic holograms that are produced by a machine. This machine, invented by the Mr. Morel referred to in the title, has recorded the presence of the people in the past and will now continue to broadcast their images "for ever and ever". The figures that confront the hero are no more than apparitions, making actual communication impossible.

The exhibition metaphorically translates this 'impossible' relation between the various fictional characters, using their interaction to explore the relation between a work of art and its viewer. What the various installations and sculptures have in common, is that they are all 'machines' whose working is repetitive but unpredictable. They seem to engage in some form of interaction with the viewer, but this is ultimately merely appearance. The works function as autarchic systems, precluding any actual participation and/or dialogue.

The link between this show and the work presented by Cora Roorda van Eijsinga is as surprising as it is tenuous. In 2000, the Argentinean artist David Lamelas (Buenos Aires, 1946), one of the pioneers of conceptual film from the 1960s, realized a cinematic adaptation of the novel La invencion de Morel. The writing credits for the script are claimed by the American actress Karen Black. Karen Black is herself a central figure in the installation If love is a red dress, which Eijsinga will be presenting in W139.

At the start of her career, Black - alias Karen Blanch Ziegler - could be seen in, among other films, Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1966) and Easy Rider (1969). However, the actress was unable to capitalize on this promising start and develop into one of the stars of the big screen. At present, Black remains much in demand as an actress, but she usually stars in more low-profile Hollywood productions. Furthermore, she is often typecast as a tragic or erratic personage, for example the hysterical housewife, the frustrated bargirl or the troubled prostitute.

In the view of Eijsinga, Black is a kind of prototype of the promising actress who has not succeeded in fully realizing her potential. This feeling of being on the edge, of balancing between success and failure, is one of the notions evoked by the artist in her installation.

Employing a performance with singer Marieke Grootveld, sculptural elements and video compilations, Eijsinga explores a wide range of themes. She refers among other things to stereotypical notions like 'the female as a seductive evil' and general human concerns like status anxiety - the quest for attention and confirmation. In this installation, which makes use of fragments from a number of films including Robert Altman's Nashville and Sidney Hayers' Circus of Horrors, Eijsinga refers to the fact that the outcome of one's life cannot be completely organized. She seems to suggest that dreams and desires often unexpectedly turn into nightmares, and that indescribable danger is always around the corner.

Although this work can be interpreted as a neofeminist treatment of the position and the representation of women, Eijsinga dissociates herself from this kind of direct statement. The artist prefers the grey zone: ambiguity. Or, as Eijsinga herself writes: "My work does not disclose a univocal meaning but rather retains a certain degree of suspense. I aim for deceptive clarity."

If love is a red dress

The Dutch artist Cora Roorda van Eijsinga (1967) will be realizing a new total installation in the W139 space entitled If love is a red dress.

Programme: Karen Black as Connie White performed by Marieke Grootveld. A performance conceived by Cora Roorda van Eijsinga.

Dates: Friday 29 April: 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday 1 May: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday 8 May: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday 12 May: start 8 p.m. Friday 13 May: start 8 p.m. Sunday 15 May: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday 22 May: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.


only in german

Invisible Script (A Letter to Morel)
Kurator Francois Piron

mit Boris Achour, Saadane Afif, Francois Curlet, Ryan Gander, Jean-Baptiste Ganne, Dora Garcia, Laurent Grasso, Marine Hugonnier, Philippe Parreno


If love is a red dress
Cora Roorda van Eijsinga