How If – A Translation in III Acts
Mladen Bizumic

March 29–April 28, 2007

For his first solo exhibition in Germany, Mladen Bizumic presents his work simultaneously at Künstlerhaus Bethanien and PROGRAM in Berlin. The exhibition is structured as a ‘spatial opera’ in which Bizumic explores the facets of contemporary geopolitics in relation to representations of architecture. In each of the piece’s three acts, we find the contribution of other artists, musicians, theorists and in one instance, his mother. Act III will be presented at PROGRAM, while ACT I & II will form the installation at Künstlerhaus Bethanien (open 29.03–15.04 / click on the link for more details).

Bizumic’s work is often based on the architecture, urban context and history of the space in which he is living. How If - A Translation in III Acts activates Berlin, his current abode, as the urban fabric comprising the space between Künstlerhaus Bethanien and PROGRAM.

Since 2004 Bizumic has been working on a multi-channel video project called An L-shaped wall is erected in the gallery and acts as a screen for a pair of mirrored video projections. A video of the crumbling architecture of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris is projected back-to-back with images of an avalanche on Mt. Cook, itself a UNESCO world heritage site in New Zealand. Mirrored along the bend in the wall, each pair of projections resembles an enormous, constantly morphing Rorschach blot. On this occasion, a multi-channel soundtrack has been added, bringing together ambient sounds taken from the Berlin Museum Island (also a world heritage site), with the flapping noises of flags outside the UN Headquarters in New York. The projections dematerialize the wall while the soundtrack organizes notions of nationality, geography, and the concept of a world heritage.

ACT I (at Künstlerhaus Bethanien)
Freud Museum (for her) 2006-2007 is a vitrine of fragments from buildings in Vienna. Two commissioned works accompany this: a piano piece composed by his Viennese girlfriend (a musician), and a ‘psychoanalytic poem’ written by his mother (a psychologist) which both articulate the personal dimensions embedded in the work. The material index of Vienna’s built environment becomes a self-consciously museological display – it’s materiality abstracted and questioned in turn by the music and poetry.

ACT II (at Künstlerhaus Bethanien)
Sister Cities of Berlin (Paris) 2007 is a video installation depicting streetlights seen through the glazed door of a building near the National Highway 7 in Paris. The distorted image through the glass is contextualized as a voice-over begins to tell a story of the Parisian suburb Le Kremlin-Bicetre. The narrative is loosely based on an interview conducted by Bizumic with French artists Saadane Afif and Valerie Chartrain – themselves residents of the aforementioned building. The characters in the narrative are reduced in their description, but a counter point of complexity is provided by the collision of images, poetic verses and ambient sounds composed by MINIT. The pared-down nature of the piece encourages free associations in the viewer. 

ACT I&II installation images      

Born in Belgrade in 1976, Mladen Bizumic grew up in New Zealand. He now lives and works in Berlin. Notable exhibitions include: New Zealand Book at the Venice Biennale (2007), Through the Picture at the 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007), Busan Biennale (2006), Hide-Tide, CAC, Vilnius and Zacheta National Art Museum, Warsaw (2006), Re: Modern, Künstlerhaus Vienna (2005), Fiji Biennale Pavilions, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2003), Mladen Bizumic, ARTSPACE, Auckland (2002).

* jointly presented with Künstlerhaus Bethanien

The exhibition is generously supported by the New Zealand Embassy in Berlin

Special thanks to Katharina Goos (NZ Embassy), Zoe Coulson (NZ Embassy), Renate Wagner (bb5), Goor Zankl (KW), and Silva Agostini.



press release 22.03.2007 [EN] [DE]

Marc Glöde, Loci of Agglomeration and Spatial Dynamics [german] [english]

"Oper in transit"
artnet, 16.04.07, Ralph Findeisen