200percentmagShiotaHosting ‘Unlimited’ in the gigantic Hall 1 provides artists unlimited possibilities to create large-scale works. Of the 79 works included in the show some of them are indeed very large, but unlimited in terms of scale is not the central idea behind the show. “Unlimited is not a measure, it aims to have no limits at all”, explained Gianni Jetzer, the curator of the show, in an interview with The Art Newspaper.

There is a sense of wonder walking around ‘Unlimited’. The hall is filled with some spectacular large-scale sculptures, installations and paintings, video projections and even performances. You gain a sense of being like Alice in Wonderland as there is lot to experience and to discover such as Piotr Uklanski’s fantastical large-installation, ‘Untitled (Wide Open)’, depicting the anatomy of the human oral cavity rendered entirely in elaborately sewn and dyed fabric (in reality not as frightening as the image on the King Crimson album cover ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’).

The works at ‘Unlimited’ range from entertaining to flashy to profound. Some of the works are an immersive experience like this work below:

200percentmagShiota1Chiharu Shiota, In Silence, 2002-2013, Black threads, chairs, and burnt grand piano, site specific dimensions. Gallery: Templeton

This poetic and transfixing installation has an illumiating archway through which the visitor could walk and thus be able to see the installation from every angle. ‘In Silence’ is inspired by the artist’s own traumatic memories. As a child, Shiota witnessed the house of her neighbour being burnt to the ground. She witnessed the piano and the chairs go up into smoke. Shiota has defined these objects by a network of black wool threads forming a giant spider web. The spider web makes you feel the tragedy that has occurred in the house but it also enshrines the memory.

200percentmagZhenChen Zhen, Purification Room, 2000, Object trouvés and clay, 350 x 670 x 670 cm. Gallery: Continua

A dystopian installation where space and objects are completely covered with clay mud. It made me recall the post-apocalyptic novel ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy where life on earth has been destroyed. A bit creepy, it gives the feeling of a graveyard.

200percentmagRoniHornRoni Horn, Untitled, solid cast glass, 5-parts, 124.4 x 137 cm. Gallery: Hauser & Wirth

Previously, Horn has presented her glass blocks at Hauser’s Savile Row gallery in London, but they were lower in dimension, approximately 40cm high. When you first encountered them they looked like large colour candles with no wick. Up close the blocks have a strange liquid transparency. It looks like they were filled with water and you have to restrain yourself from testing that perception by not kicking them to see if water would flow over.

The group of five pastel coloured glass blocks, here at ‘Unlimited’, are higher and bring another dimension to Horn’s blocks: when you looked into them you lose a sense of depth, the similar feeling when you look into Anish Kapoor’s sculptural void forms.

200percentmagVerajaoAdriana Varejão, Carnívoras, 2012, 39 panels, oil and plaster on canvas, 300 x 1287 cm. Galleries: Fortes Vilaça and Miro

200percentmagPruittRob Pruitt, Not yet titled, 2013, Acrylic, enamel paint, and flocking on canvas, from 75 x 60 cm to 80 x 65 cm. Gallery: Brown

These gradient Color Field paintings with a rapid sketch of a face overlaid on them are based on an experience that Pruitt had with his father. As a kid he wanted to be taken by his father to the museum instead of playing sports with him in the backyard. When Pruitt was standing in awe in front of a Mark Rothko his father would joke: wouldn’t it be better if the artist had drawn a face over it? He would make gestures with his hands drawing two eyes and a mouth in the air.

The playfulness of the work resonated with the visitors as some of them were posing in front of the work whilst having a picture taken of them as they made a series of funny facial expressions.

200percentmagScullySean Scully, Night and Day, 2012, 279.4 x 812.8 cm. Gallery: Sean Kelly

200percentmagRaadWalid Raad, Views Outer to Inner Compartments, 2010/2011, Installation comprising two plaster and painted wood structures and one HD video projection; 14 min 36 sec. Gallery: Cooper

200percentmagKlasEsther Kläs, 0/6 (rumba), 2013, Concrete, bronze, pigment, wire, 330 x 194 x 120 cm. Gallery: Blum

200percentmagJooMichael Joo, Indivisible, 2012, polycarbonate riot shields, plasticine, stainless steel wire, 606.6 x 914.4 x 762 cm. Gallery: Kukje

200percentmagAiWeiweiAi Weiwei, Fairytale 2007, Ladies Dormitory, 2007, Mixed media, 215 x 1000 x 545 cm. Gallery: Urs Meile.

In 2007, Weiwei invited 1001 Chinese citizens, young and old, to experience Documenta 12 in Kassel. In a former tractor factory he created dormitories that could accommodate his compatriots. There is something surreal about the space Weiwei created such as the panda bear pattern trolley bags standing before the bed and the specially designed bed linen. Probably most of the Chinese who came to Kassel never travelled abroad so the experience must have felt for them like living in a fairytale. It seems as if Weiwei captured this surreal experience in the manner in which he decorated the accommodation.

200percentmagGormleyAntony Gormley, Drift 1, 2007 / 2012. Gallery Continua

“Drift 1 is a lightweight structure that exists on the cusp between a drawing and a thing”, the artist has commented on his work. The geometry is fascinating to explore and the inside reminds me of an intricate bird’s nest. I would have preferred if the work had been displayed in a larger room so it could ‘breath’ more.

200percentmagThomasDemand1Thomas Demand, Pacific Sun, 2012, Video, 4096 x 2160 pixel, 24fps, stereo; 2 min 2 sec, edition of 4. Galleries: Marks and Sprüth Magers

This work is based on a YouTube video of a cruise ship caught in a storm. The items, just like in Demand’s photographs, are completely constructed out of paper and move from left to right in the frame – each time listing further and further. The animators meticulously retraced the movements of each item in the room, shifting the paper models of plates, pendant lamps, chairs, an upright piano and an astray by several millimetres at a time. The attention to detail is astounding like how an astray tumbles and falls from the orange counter. As I was so engrossed by the work, I believe I saw it ten times, one after the other.


Written by Thierry Somers

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