press release

8 Jul – 30 Sept 2023

Joëlle Tuerlinckx Summertime accrochage d’été avec oeuvres de la galerie
Windfiguren und Zeitfiguren auf Boden und Tisch
3 Floor Drawings made on site
+ 481 Minuten Hintergrundmusik*
(extra interludes sonores: Christoph Fink)

IntroductionDr. Clémentine Deliss, Associate Curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
Saturday, 8 Jul 2023

The material of the Hintergrundmusik is in development throughout the whole summer. It will be updated in real-time to result in a track of a few hundred minutes as announced.

(…) This is how it is with the experience you can have: between the perception of reality and the representation of reality, between what you see and what disappears, what you hear and what is not, or no longer, visible – through registers of size, colour, nature and culture, opposed and brought together in one and the same ‘moment d’espace’ (Summertime). This is what every exhibition is: an exponential moment in space in which, suddenly, you are here. (…) — Joëlle Tuerlinckxnotes d’exposition, 2001

“Nothing will have taken place but the place” is what I borrow from Mallarmé. “I don’t know what I see except when I am working” is what brings me close to Alberto Giacometti. From the cinema, I summon up the ‘hors-champ’ [Out of the Field], of the visitor crossing the space, of his perception – just like Serge Daney, I see him, I idealize him as this “walker who accepts the idea that the show has always already begun”. — Joëlle Tuerlinckx

With Summertime, Joëlle Tuerlinckx draws us into the warm haze of summers past. Oscillating between precision and playfulness, her new sculptures and collages combine rational geometry with an oneiric longing for tomorrow’s horizons. Wind and sun enter an open window in the gallery as if the outdoors was pushing for emotional space. We step over ‘dislocated’ drawings made from flat brass and aluminium plaques. These fine floor works connect to the series of Collages d’Atelier on the walls of the gallery. In one set, Tuerlinckx combines a computer-generated outline with a Chute d’Atelier. A small painting in monochrome scarlet is placed face-down, its pigment barely visible but for coloured stains that have seeped out to its edges. With others, the painted remnant is substituted by a picture postcard of a sunset or seascape. This time the illustration is turned over to reveal a title printed on the back of the card. We read phrases like “Paix du soir” [Evening tranquillity], or a line from a poem by the French poet-statesman, Alphonse de Lamartine, such as “Le soleil de demain ?” [Tomorrow’s sun?]. Today these idyllic vistas with their aftertaste of tourism and nostalgia speak another language, that of increasing unease at the degradation of the environment, the destruction of paradise.

Tuerlinckx has a special relationship with photography and returns to it for the dreamlike recall it can unleash. A few years back, she papered a room in the Galerie nächst St. Stephan with an enlarged shot of a brick wall taken in her studio in Brussels. Now, for Summertime, she repeats the process, only this time with a found photograph of a centuries-old dwelling, an image she has looked at in her studio every day and which she translates into the rooms of the gallery. She deploys this found photograph as a decoy, a mnemonic lure so inherently enigmatic that it alters our experience of reality. In the same room, we find a blue kitchen table on which she places metal foils and circles cut out of transparent film. These Figures de Vent [Wind figures] swirl in the light and dance to the wind of a nearby fan as if they were moving to camera.

Paintings, soaked in water and folded, protrude unevenly on the wall like sculptures. Drips of washed-out colour spot the walls and, together with the finest of copper wire, form part of a vast mural. With its subtle blue and yellow markings, it recalls the fresco painter who strokes the wall with leftover pigment to clean a brush. Meanwhile nylon thread, partially painted with colours, stretches across the room to meet tongues of paper that shake in the wind. With Lignes Café Tuerlinckx takes paper tablecloths from restaurants and marks them with optical lines, coloured like horizons. Elsewhere, a series of small works, Études de Cuisine [Kitchen Studies] resonate with a percussive quality drawn in crayon, tapped and rubbed, back and forth onto the paper for two hours or more.

Tuerlinckx returns to a central challenge in her work: how to translocate the privacy of her world, that of her studio with its freedom of unresolved composition, into the hermetic frame of the gallery. With Summertime, it is sound that is charged with translocating this presence. In the distance we hear someone practising chords, perhaps a few lines from “Summertime” sung by Janis Joplin, but so faint one might be mistaken. Invisible to the eye yet located somewhere in the gallery, this sonic sculpture has a troubling presence that confuses the wavelengths between lived and imagined experience.

The configured agency and unusual beauty of her artworks offer us visual oxygen. Summertime encourages us to take a pause and view the repeated fictions of our shared lives with humour and counterpoint. — Clémentine Deliss

CLÉMENTINE DELISS is an independent curator and cultural historian. She studied art and anthropology in Vienna, London, and Paris and lives and works in Berlin. She is Associate Curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin where she is preparing the forthcoming exhibition, “Skin in the Game” – opening 13 September 2023 – with artworks and a collaborative choreography by Joëlle Tuerlinckx.