John Duncan — The Dream House


Galleri Niklas Belenius is pleased to present the second solo exhibition at the gallery by John Duncan.

In the installation The DREAM HOUSE each room is specifically designed to evoke a specific state of consciousness. Assembled together they form a multi-story structure based on the form of the human brain. The exhibition will include new works such as several tableaux pieces and abstract drawings portraying the different ‘chambers of the mind’. Duncan portrays his work as a catalyst confronting the viewer with questions about human existence where the revealing reactions and experiences perceived by the audience contributes to the work itself. His unrestrained exploration and interaction with the deepest layers of the human psyche and the traumatic invites the participants to reflect on hidden emotional responses. Duncan is a multi-media artist and has gained notability for his forceful work with sound. His body of work span from confrontational performance events to installations and video art. For this exhibition he has chosen an exclusively visual form of expression.

Excert from a talk with John Duncan prior to The DREAM HOUSE exhibition.

NB: Your work is often actively inviting and challenging the viewer to participate in a process of investigation and self-discovery. What do you wish the audience to experience when visiting The DREAM HOUSE?

JD: What I wish to experience, as a visitor, is a different way to conceive the processes going on in my head, to consider how they’re connected or lead into each other, the possibility of recombining them. The overall structure of The DREAM HOUSE is based on the physical structure of the human brain, with room modules dedicated to specific behaviors, placed in areas of the building that correlate to where they’re known or thought to be in the actual brain.

NB: Your practice has been perceived to engage in existential research and in many ways to inquire into the hidden aspects of human nature. Can you elaborate on this statement?

JD: I can say that I think of art as a tool, a method to expand that research and take it further, that the research itself is what’s essential.

NB: A certain shock-value has been associated with your practice throughout your artistic career. Is there any parallel between how you use these ´´provocative´´aspects with the intent to create a reaction or participation from your audience?

JD: Again, what’s essential is the research. What I do in my work is to deal with situations that I’m faced with in some way in life, to find ways to ‘work through’ them. What I hope to see as a participant in these presentations is a moment where I learn something, percieve differently. I don’t see the situations in art that I set up as ‘provocations’; I see them as offerings, portals, open to anyone willing to go further than a cursory summing up of their own psychic makeup, to learn what we can from the experiences they catalyse. Sometimes the unexpected, shock or other forms of confusion, is part of the process, a collateral effect that doesn’t last. Unless the participant feels threatened by it, which is a part of her or his own psyche and is her or his responsibility to manage.

John Duncan was born in the United States in 1953, has lived and worked in Tokyo and Amsterdam and currently resides in Bologna where he teaches audio art at the Accademia delle Belle Arti. His events and installations have recently been held at Färgfabriken and Gallery Niklas Belenius in Stockholm, Ex-Teresa in Mexico City, XSNOSA in Palermo, Netmage 7 in Bologna, PX2 and PX3 in Piombino, O’Artoteca in Milan, Atlantic Waves in London, The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, Eco e Narciso in Turin, MUTEK in Montreal, The Compound in San Francisco, Teatro Fondamenta Nuova in Venice, Teatro Piccolo Jovinelli in Rome, the Noorlands Operan in Umeå, Fylkingen in Stockholm, the 2nd Gothenburg Biennial and Galleria Enrico Fornello in Prato. He has performed with Musica Nova in Tel Aviv and Zeitkratzer in Berlin, directing these ensembles in live events. His CD releases THE CRACKLING (1996 with Max Springer), TAP INTERNAL (2000), PALACE of MIND (2001 with Giuliana Stefani), FRESH (2002 with Zeitkratzer), PHANTOM BROADCAST (2002), INFRASOUND-TIDAL (2003), THE KEENING TOWERS (2003) and NINE SUGGESTIONS (2005 with Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen, a.k.a. Pan Sonic) are all considered by critics and composers alike to be benchmarks in the field of experimental music. His work in radio, video and performance has been shown recently at the Getty Center (Evidence of Movement and California Video) as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles (Out of Actions:Between Performance and its Objects, 1998); the Osterreichisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst (MAK), Vienna; Museu d’Arte Contemporani, Barcelona (MACBA); and Museum of Tokyo (MOT)

More about this exhibition

Ivana Franke


Gallery Niklas Belenius is pleased to present the second solo exhibition at the gallery by Ivana Franke.

There is a story about a certain optical phenomena that happens while looking at someone, or yourself in the mirror long enough, at some point, this person´s image disappears, dissolves into a fog. Ephemerality of appearances and finitude of forms and the way they are experienced, understood and responded to or simply made in time are frequent topics in Ivana Franke´s work.

The series of drawings presented in this exhibition – Thinking dimensions (n-cube) – speak about the process of slowly getting lost in complex abstract counter-intuitive conceptions of space, represented through several projection graphs. These graphs are used in visualizing structures of the higher dimensional regular polytopes. In each drawing one dimension is added, the addition of lines unfold further spaces and the lines multiply until they finally become happily raveled or blur together.

Franke´s work investigates the concept of visibility and space. The sculptural piece Boxed-in infinite polyhedron is an object made of transparent acrylic glass and is a fragment of space filling polyhedra, which is in theory, by mathematical definition infinite. The rigid materiality and solidity of the object is partially canceled out by the transparency and reflectivity of the acrylic glass as they bring forth an encounter with many faces simultaneously. Reflections follow the viewers pace of movement and extend the gaze in time, while empty space and reified volume exchange in perception.

Tensegrity wall is a construction made of steel rods connected with thin wire that engraves the space. The large-scale installation physically divides the gallery, breaks the shortest path, and directs the visitors movement. At the same time it opens the space into itself, into multiply new spaces inside of it. The construction could be used for measuring through the space – the distance between you and me at the moment, as it renders spatial relations visible.

Her exhibitions include P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, New York; the Venice Architecture Biennale; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; the Venice Biennale; Reykjavik Experiment Marathon; Manifesta 7

Ivana Franke was born in 1973 in Zagreb and she currently lives and works in Berlin.

More about this exhibition

Galleri Niklas Belenius is proud to present The truth about this work (2010), a site-specific video installation by Loulou Cherinet that has recently been shown at Manifesta 8.

During a car trip through Slovenia we stopped at country store for supplies. We bought two litres of 96,6% pure alcohol. On the flight home we spiked our drinks with considerable amounts from one of the bottles. The taxi journey from Arlanda is eternally etched in my memory, it was sleet outside, and I cooled one hand through the open window and placed the other on her forehead. The lights along the motorway, the smell of leather from the car coupé, the cold air from the outside and the heat from the alcohol that incinerated and radiated through the delicate skin in her forehead. Imagine how the palm of our hand register hallucinatory fragments, how it reads and renders a meaningful message there in the backseat. Essential basic naive mental layers interacting with more defined and developed structures. Conclusions based on experience are in compromise with standpoints of a fundamental cultural, and moralistic nature. It is a cognitive narrative in real-time. Not a passive contemplation but a doing, an active acting. A hierarchy composed by forces and counter-forces that are unified and concluded in a densified story, in an image of a human being. An image fulfilled, containing all the unconscious material that the conscious has displaced, everything that do not exist in the official repertoire. It has to be real. The time in Washington, the welding sparks and the cigarettes. The time in Indonesia, the great paintings, the water leak in the ceiling. The return journey, the knife incident, love, impotency and insanity. The bars in Gothenburg, Hayward Gallery, Moderna Museet, Centre Georges Pompidou and the Mori Art Museum. The miracle in Vienna, the implausible high odds winner at the race tracks who saved the economy. And here we are – right at the heart of the result and at the centre of a construction – with access to new works. A configured basic material in a materialised format, half encoded, half projected or projected because it is encoded. Just lift your hand to the forehead and make yourself aware.
Linus Elmes, Oslo, 2010

More about this exhibition

A fountain and its natural form, the spring, are symbols of the miraculous life-begetting ‘élan vital’ that permeates the universe. In fact, life on earth is now thought to have begun in the nutrient-rich plumes of undersea hydrothermal vents, real-life fountains of life. But, when the image of the source is mimicked as Water Feature, a merely decorative, self-contained electric fountain, the maternalistic life-force is perverted into what amounts to abject MILF porn. The Water Feature is so wasteful and self-indulgent that it becomes the straw man in the argument against contemporary art as useless blubber for the tasteless elite. But— can’t home and garden decor give back a little bit? Can’t we efficiently retrofit some of our ‘criminal ornaments’ for a fairer future? If there is some leftover space inside their faux-marble fiberglass hollowness, we can definitely squeeze some useful nanotech in there— right? Let’s finally answer Joseph Bueys famous challenge, “Kann Plastik die Welt verandern?”—can sculpture change the world? with a resounding “YES!”…as long as that sculpture contains a state-of-the-art-kick-ass-energy-efficient-linux-micro-PC that is totally discovering a cure for cancer.

A group of spectacular cast-fiberglass fountains stand together on an elevated server-room floor. A Fit PC 2 (the smallest PC currently available, 96% more energy efficient than a standard desktop) is installed in each water feature. Whenever the fountains are plugged in, the Linux PC’s will automatically boot up and run World Community Grid software, a distributed computing project which uses a massive network of PC’s around the world to model solutions for various humanitarian problems, such as: “Clean Energy Project”, “Influenza Antiviral Drug Search”, “ Fight Aids@home” and “Nutritious Rice for the World”. The delightful splashing of the water and twinkle of the energy-efficient LED’s act as relaxing and meditative status-light for the computers, tirelessly laboring within. Although there is no screen visible in the installation, the computation progress can be remotely monitored through a dedicated website.
Throw in a coin, and make a wish….introducing, World Community Grid Water Features by AIDS-3D

More about this exhibition

A short story by Swedish novelist Stig Dagerman inspired a series of painted stage directions, featuring an ambiguous drama of God and Newton. The paintings draw upon ideas in the text, merged with the artist’s interest in a shack-like condition best described as “a sustained moment in time where collapse is imminent.”

Newton is in his London study on the night of his death. The air is raw with fog, the candles lit. When God pays the scientist a visit, a battle of desire and vanity ensues where neither God nor mortal are entirely redeemed. The stage folds into itself, the characters merge into one another, and miracles are reversed when Newton gambles for the deity’s human shape. In a shack on the street outside the gallery the most precious of substances, silence, is collected in amber jars.


thaw the I

sand us ray

You are all familiar with that first scene from the new country: A few shacks in a field, morning mist dissolving imperceptibly and rapidly at the same time. Any thought disrupting this hypnotic presence must be addressed to god, as an idea. What we see here is a workplace without mercy. The turpentine, the dust and the boards are all elements of an involuntary state of exile, brought about by internal forces, contaminating the body. Labor executed here is unimaginably heavy, with severe restrictions on both air and imagination. Pause is out of the question.

Each effort is painfully hard; feet slip in shoddy mud, sweat attracts insects and the blistery hands are full of splinters; sleep and nutrition sorely lacking. Spirits haunt within and without in this place that consumes its inhabitants.

The installation “Skjul för tystnads skull/” Shack for the purpose of silence” is part of the ongoing project “un

More about this exhibition