Bangkok Biennial, Cho Why, Bangkok (TH)

21.07.2018 – 29.07.2018

Bangkok Biennial

In his Exhibition Given: The Haunting Ghost, Kay Walkowiak approaches the question of how spirits of the past still exist in the present and how they manifest themselves in virtual layers of reality. With the outstanding example of Marcel Duchamp, as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Kay Walkowiak opens up a cultural dialogue between the concept of „Hauntology“ by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida and traditional beliefs in ghosts and spirits in South-East Asian culture. Hauntology as a nature of being is an idea that inherently embeds the realm of the past in that of the present, the ghosts of the past returning to haunt us. As the eclectic compilation of works is the outcome of previous stays in South-East Asia, Cho Why - located in China Town - was chosen for a site-specific presentation during the Bangkok Biennial 2018.

Text: Cho Why, Bangkok 2018

To what extent can artistic practices destabilize, defer, or extend normative categories? What is the potential of queer readings in processual approaches toward appropriation? [...]
Kay Walkowiak brings together video, sculpture, and photography to investigate the fleeting transitions of meaning attributed to objects and signs in Western and Eastern cultures. Jacques Derrida’s concept of Hauntology and the traditional Asian belief in specters and souls lay at the center of “Given: The Haunting Ghost.” The title refers to Duchamp’s last major work “Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas . . .” (1946–66) and might further stand as a metaphor for a whole universe of cross-references that open up when peeping through its two holes in the door to the lying nude exposing her genitals. Walkowiak’s installation is plunged into darkness, and the smell of incense sticks held by the sculpture of an enveloped vagina “Wedge of Worship” (2016), referencing Marcel Duchamp’s “Wedge of Chastity” (1954/63), lingers in the air. Together with moon blocks (Jiaobei blocks) that hover on a large table once the spectator puts on the 3D glasses, they are requisites of a traditional Asian religious ceremony to obtain an answer from the gods. The opening scene and the overall dramaturgy of the installation invite questions related to ancestor worship and the artist’s status, yet the haunting specter of Duchamp and his radical critique of the mechanisms within the art world un- folds at the same time. The twenty-minute lm “Waterfall” (2017) tells the imaginary love story of a young woman in Taiwan following illusive traces of Marcel Duchamp. Walkowiak’s investigation of notions of adoration, love, and the longing for a person who has died poses questions around appropriation and affection.

Text: Margit Neuhold, Camera Austria, Graz 2018
Photos: (c) Studio Kay Walkowiak

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