Mike Kelley Retrospective | ITSLIQUID

Mike Kelley Retrospective

Art | February 7, 2013 |

Mike Kelley, Works from the Kandor series, 2011

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Show runs 15 December 2012 – 1 April 2013

American artist Mike Kelley is by no means a newcomer to the field of contemporary art. He was widely regarded as one of the most important artists in field until his untimely death in 2012. Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum hosts the largest collection of Kelley’s work ever assembled from the 15th of December until the 1st of April 2013. Stedelijk director Ann Goldstein takes an ambitious approach to the eccentric world of Kelley. The lower Abn. Amro Gallery displays Kelley’s earlier works (1970-2003). The broad impression is an aesthetic and emotional rollercoaster that plunges the viewer deep into the psyche of the artist. Works range from collaged/manipulated/mutilated stuffed animals that echo deep pangs of emotional abuse, to tongue and cheek birdhouses that innocently dabble with the winged creatures literary connection to the soul. The basement exhibition plays out in a Jungian plunge into the subconscious, tracing roots of Kelley’s early performances and even scale models of every educational institution that he studied in. Yet as Kelley opens the void of repressed memories and emotional turmoil he manages to keep both hands on the safety lines, offering humorous billboard styled paintings and light hearted brick-a-brack assemblage as skylights to a brighter perspective.

Mike Kelley, Lumpenprole, 1991

Viewers are lead to an accent via an ultra-modern escalator, a physical and mental journey where in the end the guests are confronted video works, banners, as well as highly graphical animations that scream and tremble ad infinitum. The upper Vandenende Gallery showcases Kelley’s later works (2004-2012) and reads as a portrait of a mature and considered artist. The works on the upper floors reveal Kelley as an artist that has the tendency to veer into mundane obsessions. The “Kandors” series recreate the birth-planet of comic book icon Superman, and seep compulsive sentiments of endless chat-room ruminations. The upper gallery continues Kelley’s preoccupation with childhood, but with a keen, almost Freudian perspective. As the world around him changed Kelley did as well. “Trauma Rooms” features a modernist installation counterbalanced with YouTube snippets of horrifying (and at times hilarious) childhood experiences. Mediums may have changed, but Kelley seemed to stay the same.

Mike Kelley, Untitled, 1989

One is left with a bittersweet taste – yet veering towards the sweeter side – after immersing oneself in the world of  Mike Kelley. Kelley comes off as troubled, but not disturbed. Breaking down, but not in a state of psychosis. The sheer force of information resonates long after leaving the museum, as well as the careful touch that Kelley imbued in all of his works. He veers as far as possible into the realm of Art Brut, and at the last moments pulling out of a folk-art tailspin into the gilded halls of the modern masters. Even his simple arrangements hint at some sort of grand blueprint, like trails of breadcrumbs strewn across a schizoid forest tempting the viewer to veer off into cryptic paths. Kelly somehow managed to separate a red line from an immense pop-art static hiss. (He has, to some extent, Goldstein to thank for translating his whispers and screams into a coherent prose).

Mike Kelley, Memory Ware flat 49, 2001

One could criticize the role of an institution in respect to the atmosphere of Kelly’s works. Perhaps the viewer merely skates the lunatic fringe, a touristic visit into intensity where it’s a bit too easy to cover ones eyes and shrug off the sentiments that very well may have lead to his tragic demise. For Mike Kelley, art and life were truly married, and like any union this relationship had its fair share of tribulations. Are we orientalists casually enjoying the spoils of a burden far too heavy to bear? It’s a difficult question to answer. What one can say is that the Stedelijk, under the direction of Ann Goldstein, manages to collect an astounding quantity of Kelley’s prolific career, and deserves due thanks for illuminating one of the fields most exceptional individuals.
(Adam Grinovich
, www.adamgrinovich.com)

more. www.stedelijk.nl

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


Featured Architect: MAD Architects

Architecture | June 13, 2020

Founded by Chinese architect Ma Yansong in 2004, MAD Architects is a global architecture firm committed to developing futuristic, organic, technologically advanced designs that embody a contemporary interpretation of the Eastern affinity for nature. With its core design philosophy of Shanshui City - a vision for the city of the future based in the spiritual and emotional needs of residents - MAD endeavors to create a balance between humanity, the city, and the environment. Read more


ICÔNE BY FOSTER+PARTNERS

Architecture | June 12, 2020

ICÔNE, a new office complex in Belval Luxembourg designed by Foster + Partners has broken ground. The 18,800 square-metre office building, filled with light and greenery, encourages a spirit of co-creation and collaboration. Its flexible layout addresses the need for safe working environments and the changes to the workplace that will emerge in the future. It also references the rich industrial heritage of Belval, revitalising the area by making a positive contribution to the site and its surroundings. Read more


STODISTANTE BY CARET STUDIO

Architecture | May 24, 2020

StoDistante is a reflection on the new forms of social distancing imposed during the spread of the Covid-19 emergency. The project developed by Caret Studio is intended as a temporary solution for a conscious use of Vicchio’s Piazza Giotto under Italy’s current safety measures. Stodistante is conceived as a platform for citizens to reclaim and reactivate open spaces through the hosting of a series of initiatives as rules are relaxed in the coming weeks. Read more


SOUTHBANK BY BEULAH – UNSTUDIO…

Architecture | May 18, 2020

The design proposal by UNStudio with Cox Architecture for Southbank by Beulah aims to establish a new destination for the Southbank area and Melbourne. The project is integrally organised by one Big Detail: a Green Spine of vertically networked platforms, terraces and verandas. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!