┼×tefan RUSU

editor / books

Mercury in Retrograde

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Contributors & artists: 
Jennifer Allen, Michael Blum, David Maljkovic, Sven Johne, Missing Books, Omer Fast, Stephan Dillemuth, Dmitry Gutov, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Johan Cornelissen, Khalil Rabah, Tilmann Meyer-Faje, Marian Castillo Deball, Stefan Rusu, Laura Schleussner

“Mercury in Retrograde” is a book and exhibition of twisted timelines, hallucinated futures, and historical chain reactions. It is an experiment from which to launch expeditions into vanished histories – a momentary repository for new thoughts gleaned from sedimentary deposits in time. Mercury in Retrograde cracks open the notion of authorized collective histories, with examples that explode and decipher the codes of our constructed reality.

In a spirit of exchange with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, a prized selection of 16th century objects excavated from the ice of Nova Zembla is presented at De Appel. The myth of the collective wintering of Dutch explorers in the severe Polar environment has been studied by generations of writers, explorers, and adventurers. Select navigation tools are accompanied by Sven Johnes double images that tell the stories of people whose various endeavors ran aground on the tiny Baltic island of Vinta.
An untapped history of the building of De Appel is unearthed in an installation by Michael Blum, re-staging the established bank Lippman, Rosenthal & Co. Mariana Castillo Deball traces colonial history and inserts the story of the relocation of the giant stone of the God Tlaloc in an audio piece, as the listeners weaves through the antique shops of Spiegelstraat in Amsterdam.
Omer Fast implodes viewers definition of time with his re-sampled interviews with living-history museum interpreters, while Missingbooks revives the story of the disappearance of radical Argentine intellectual Rodolfo Walsh, and the subsequent eradication of his subversive short story. Aurélien Froments trompe-l’il constructions set the stage for a guided tour through a mysterious landscape, while Ohad Meromi proposes the Moon a new site for fiction. David Maljkovic revisits cultural heritage by alighting from the future, and excavating a monument.
Exposing production of myth and reality, and the re-writable nature of history through time, the expedition-exhibition ranges from Fernando Sánchez Castillos operatic saga of an allegorical and standardized coup détat to Khalil Rabahs investigative re-appropriation of the tulip in collaboration with Dutch institutions; from Dmitry Gutovs poetic criticism of Western art history with the activities of the Lifshitz-Institute to the incongruous mix of authority and popular imagination in Tilmann Meyer-Faje’s publication on the occasion of the 400th birth anniversary of Rembrandt. Stephan Dillemuths explorations of 19th century reform movements look into the archives of Dutch social visionary Frederik van Eeden. Throughout the exhibition emerge the still unopened envelopes from1983/84, of Johan Cornelissens journey along the ever-elusive line of the equator.
Please check www.mercuryretrograde.org for detailed information about public programs and performances by artists including Michael Blum, Mariana Castillo Deball, Aurélien Froment, IRWIN, Chris Kubick & Anne Walsh (live stream from Again for Tomorrow, RCA, London), Ohad Meromi, Missingbooks, Bik Van der Pol, Khalil Rabah, with Joeri Boom (journalist/editor, De Groene Amsterdammer) and JaapJan Zeeberg (explorer / author Into the Ice Sea).

Mercury in Retrograde was curated by Defne Ayas, Tessa Giblin, Stefan Rusu, Laura Schleussner, Angela Serino, Diana Wiegersma (CTP 05-06)
Mercury in Retrograde was supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. The exhibition has also received support from Antenne de La Haye – Institut Français des Pays-Bas, Fonds Roberto Cimetta, Ford Foundation, Harris Lieberman, Maison Descartes, Art School Palestine, Embassy of Israel, Embajada de España, Anything is Possible, Gerritsen Theatercostuums, HWW Mannequins, LOODS 6, SEACEX, and private individuals. The Nova Zembla project is co-commissioned by Het Nieuwe Rijksmuseum.

Editors: Defne Ayas, Tessa Giblin, Stefan Rusu, Laura Schleussner, Angela Serino, Diana Wiegersma and Edna van Duyn : 2007, design: Hans Gremmen : English. Info: 23 x 16 x 1.2 cm, hardcover, Prodused by CTP-2005/06-De Appel arts centre, Amsterdam. ISBN: 978 90 73501 72 0