Aleksandra Mir

Naming Tokyo

Swiss Institute, Press Release, New York, Nov 2003

13 Nov – 20 Dec 2003
Swiss Institute—Contemporary Art, 495 Broadway 3rd floor, New York, NY - USA

Constantly imagining a gallery as a place where art lives, this autumn the SI is pleased to present a suite of exhibitions that will saturate our multiple spaces, featuring two solo shows in the main space and the lounge but also smaller projects for the new SI rubber bar, the library and the lobby. The two solo shows of JONATHAN MONK and ALEKSANDRA MIR will be complemented by works of younger artists, DECLAN CLARKE, ISABELL HEIMERDINGER and SHIRANA SHAHBAZI.

JONATHAN MONK's exhibition Time And Or Space features a selection of works combining looped 16mm films, slide projections and text pieces. 'Time And Or Space' remains true to its title, exploring the mechanisms of marking points of time and place. Monk's work is an excavation of nostalgia with a tinge of melancholy and the eye of a clever conceptualist. Opposing urges meet as Monk looks to the past, sampling wistful or whimsical images and appropriating the canons as he sets out to organize his audience to meet again, in the future, with his wall-based text works, called Meeting Pieces. As his viewers we feel an anticipation to remember these proposed times and places because somehow Monk's future seems as if it could be an ideal combination time and space.

ALEKSANDRA MIR's project is also an attempt to render travel a more poetic and also more practical experience. 'Naming Tokyo Part II' is the second phase of a project activated earlier this year at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Mir has invited artists, poets, politicians and curators to suggest street names for small patches of the Tokyo street-scape. From these names, Mir has created a second generation of the map with images of Tokyo neighborhoods and the list of proposed names. This second map is presented by the SI. Though the task does impose a western classification system on this already Americanized Asian mega-city, Mir's hopes for the project are sincere, as she aims to mass-produce these user-friendly maps. Naming Tokyo becomes a specially New York project at the SI as Mir has worked with the New York Department of Transportation to produce 30 NY-style street signs with a selection of the proposed names, which will be installed in the lounge as a sort of jungle/jumble of artists' street names.

BAR: DECLAN CLARKE / LIBRARY: ISABELL HEIMERDINGER / LOBBY: SHIRANA SHAHBAZI

Curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler