artist / participant
June 25–September 25, 2022
Opening: June 24, 7pm
Keren Cytter. Bad Words
The multidisciplinary works of New York-based artist Keren Cytter include films, soap operas, plays, sculptures, drawings, novels, zines, life coaching guides, and children’s books, as well as festivals. Including more than one hundred works produced between 2002 and 2022, the survey Bad Words at Ludwig Forum Aachen presents all of the artist’s versatile fields of interest combined for the first time. Their particular sequencing throughout the three exhibition floors at the Ludwig Forum follows Cytter’s ongoing interest in personal mythologies and the various stages of life, while highlighting text and language as crucial elements in her practice.
The first room introduces a series of children’s books, sculptures, and animated films that describe childhood as a search for one’s own identity in proximity to and at a distance from family, friends, and strangers. This installation is followed by a series of drawings and two videos reflecting the ever-changing emotional world of young people: clichéd icons such as Che Guevara or personalities like underground filmmaker and pioneer of queer cinema Kenneth Anger illustrate possible bandwidths of youth culture and socialization. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from her film Bad Words or when you wake up and realize that you are late to your job interview with your best friend’s ex and you are not a lesbian, but the product of a patriarchal society that’s conditioned you to see women as sex objects (2021). Keren Cytter dramatizes today’s new normality dominated by social media and the Internet, characterized by a state of permanent networking, circulation and updated presence, resulting in the collapse of clear boundaries between private and public.
Other stops in the exhibition include Keren Cytter’s multiple collaborations, most notably with New York-based artist John Roebas. Through their joint sculptural project Ego bodies, Cytter / Roebas playfully highlight that disturbances and fragmented bodies belong to growing up just as much as dealing with coming of age. Art Projects Era (A.P.E.), a non-profit organization and production platform, is another collaboration co-founded with curators Maaike Gouwenberg and Kathy Noble. Since its creation in 2010, A.P.E. has challenged the limitations of institutional structures through festivals with international performance artists, writers, dancers, and musicians in Amsterdam, Basel, Bologna, Bregenz, Düsseldorf, New York, Warsaw, and Zurich.
In the last room, 825 Polaroid photos taken between the years 2012 and 2013 display family, friends, objects, film sets, landscapes, and manipulated portraits—a collection of images in which Cytter imitates different photographic genres and which she ironically, or affirmatively, calls MOP (Museum of Photography) (2013) to question the power of memory and the interpretive authority of institutions. Behind it, a series of blue drawings document apartments where the artist has recently spent her time (her home in Queens, and a house in Lausanne where she quarantined for ten days), still-lifes, and views from windows drawn with a ballpoint pen on small sheets of paper that she carried in an envelope and reassembled in the exhibition space.
All works on view are connected by a new site-specific installation: a text that sprawls along the walls of the museum, guiding the visitor from one space to the next. Being at the same time its own long title, this text addresses the individual objects of the exhibition it accompanies, as it incorporates additional narratives. In other instances, it refers to its own physical presence as a plotted wall text, and to the presence of the visitors, who, while walking and reading the text, become in a way performers themselves.
On the occasion of the exhibition, an artist book in the form of a novel will be published by Sternberg Press. Written by Mathilde Supe after she moved as a twenty-four-year-old student to New York City to be Cytter’s assistant in 2013, Keren Cytter Does Not Like to Share narrates her hardships and learning processes in this logbook of adventures (release date: September 2022.)
Curated by Eva Birkenstock and Holger Otten.
Festival: Cold Summer
For the opening weekend, Keren Cytter has invited a number of artists, poets and musicians to participate in the festival Cold Summer, conceived as part of Cytter’s non-profit organization A.P.E. . The festival will feature readings, dance, and music performances by Dan Bodan, DECHA, Cosima Grand with Milena Keller, Adam Harrison, Karl Holmqvist, Marie-Caroline Hominal with Joseph Ravens, Ari Benjamin Meyers with Thomsen Merkel and Jan Terstegen, New Noveta x Vindicatrix, and Mathilde Supe.
Keren Cytter studied visual arts at Avni Institute of Art and Design, Tel Aviv, and from 2002-2004 she was a resident artist at De Ateliers, Amsterdam. Her work was shown in solo exhibitions at internationally renowned institutions such as Winterthur Kunstmuseum (2020); Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2019); Museion Bolzano (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2015); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014); Tate Modern, London (2012) and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2011), among others. She participated in numerous group exhibitions and biennials such as Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt (2017); KADIST, Paris (2017); SeMA Seoul Museum of Art (2017); Busan Biennial (2016); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2015); Kunsthalle Wien (2015); Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2011); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2010); 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010), Future Generation Art Prize - PinchukArtCentre Kiev (2010); Whitney Museum, New York (2009); 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, (2009); Yokohama Triennial (2008). Her films were screened in numerous film festivals, such as Bolzano Film Festival (2019); European Media Arts Festival, Osnabruck (2018); Bergamo Film Festival (2016); Berlin International Film Festival, Forum Expanded (2008). Cytter was awarded the Joseph Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2021), Absolut Art Award, Stockholm (2009), Ars Viva Prize, Kulturkeis der Deutschen Wirschaft, Berlin (2008).