“You could say that a reckoning has to be made with the coyote…” Joseph Beuys on I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974
When Joseph Beuys came to New York to live and communicate with a wild coyote in a small room he fascinated people. In I Like America and America Likes Me (1974) Beuys assembled a parallel mythology; through symbolism he proposed a different perspective on America, both current and historical. Using an alternative lexicon of ancient myths, he attempted, through his work, to “fix” or heal the rampant global effects of American foreign policy at work during that time. Following this lead, the works in Circled the Man extend parameters by investigating parallel mythologies at work today—traditional, political and otherwise. A show inviting expansion and insight, these are international artists whose work questions, navigates, or provides a broader perspective on political and social paradigms.
It is the common practice of political entities, states and institutions with access to power to churn their respective mythologies, amplifying their raison d’etre and justifying their actions beyond ethical frontiers. The fabrication of such mythologies is followed by the aestheticization of their message sponsored by these very same machines. The individual, the artist, and the independent mind finds itself on the edge of these official narratives. This displacement at its best can result in an alternate current, an adjustment, and a healing. The artist can respond to the officially sponsored spin-of-authority with their own individual practice, placing a stick into the spinning wheel.
In Susana Gaudêncio’s 2008 work, Equestrian Project, the artist proposes the equestrian statue of D. Jose I, in Terreiro de Paco, Lisbon to be moved temporarily into the nearest desert. A formal letter to the mayor of Lisbon with the request ensues.
In Road to Tate Modern (2003), Erkan Özgen and Sener Özmen travel on horse and donkey, in the fashion of Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza through the southeastern region of Anatolia. During their journey, they ask people they encounter the way to Tate Modern..
In Wonderland (2012), Ji Hye Yom offers a mono-interview in an artificial exotic hole in the middle of snow in Finland, spinning over desires to see other places to Finnish relations with Russia.
Like a contemporary sideways vertical roll, Dineo Seshee Bopape’s 7egg (2012) moves static imagery against a roughly shot video landscape. With this stream she creates a new narrative and altered perspective on ordinary items.
Daniel Bozhkov engages in a wide variety of media, painting and performance as acts of resistance to institutionalized homogenization, aiming his works to be more infectious than disruptive.
The show is curated by Georgia Elrod, Sarada Rauch and Baris Gokturk. Heliopolis is an artist run space in Greenpoint Brooklyn. The show runs from November 9th to November 30th 2012.