Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Lightskin - Peau Claire

I'm heading off back home to Montreal tomorrow. Excited, nervous, trying to think of way I can be sure to sleep through the bulk of my 15+ hour plane trip. Usually I get razzed by the roar of the engines, the expanse of tarmac and the intertwisting wafts of jet fule and Dity Free perfume which sing "bon voyage".
I remember once listening to Debussy's 'Clouds' from above the clouds and looking down and being stirred as music can only stir me.

You'll excuse me if I keep this brief. I got a paper lamp design to figure out before a session with Venus Eclipse and the rest of the day coaxing the sluggish computers at Yonsei to churn out something passable to show at my opening...one week away.

Baruch Gottlieb - LIGHTSKIN

Baruch Gottlieb aka Brucie G aka Bru CG aka Spruce Bruce, long denizen of Montreal's underground music scene has been plumbing his art vein for the last few years doing performances installations and public art around the world.

In his first solo art show in Montreal, Gottlieb presents LIGHTSKIN: illuminated stpped-on, sat-on, slept-on canvasses printed with patterns of his freckled skin. 450 meters of 2nd-generation skin has additionally been printed up for this event which will be plastered around Montreal as well as in the space.

Come to O Patro Vys on April 6th for the opening and sample the freshly uncapped olfactory backdrop to the haunting illuminated skin tableaux, as well as performances and other treats.

Experience the deliciously twisted and uproarously indomitable sensibility that is your friend and typical Montreal native son of Baruch Bruce E Gottlieb, in his new show LIGHTSKIN.

Baruch Gottlieb - "PEAU CLAIRE"

Baruch Gottlieb, dit Brucie G, Bru CG, ou encore Spruce Bruce,
autochtone de la scène musicale Underground montréalaise, poursuit
depuis plusieurs années sa démarche artistique en réalisant des
performances, des installations et de l'art public tout autour du monde.

Lors de sa première exposition personnelle à Montréal, Gottlieb a
présenté "PEAU CLAIRE": de grandes toiles illuminées, imprimées d'un
motif en grandeur nature créé à partir d'une photographie de sa peau, et
présentées sous la forme de grands coussins. Les visiteurs y ont
déambulé, s'y sont assis ou allongés pendant les cinq semaines qu'a duré
l'exposition à la Galerie Pince Takamado de l'Ambassade du Canada à Tokyo.

Il présente aujourd'hui une "nouvelle peau": "PEAU CLAIRE" 2e
génération, d'une longueur de 450 mètres, qui sera exposée dans l'espace
urbain de Montréal.

Venez nombreux le 6 avril 2005 à "O Patro Vys" pour le vernissage de la
nouvelle exposition de Baruch Bruce E. Gottlieb, "PEAU CLAIRE". Une
performance musicale et olfactive, ainsi que bien d'autres surprises
vous y attendent!


Tuesday, March 15, 2005


hey all - for those anonymous and silent who visit this spot of weblicious candour and convey. I'm back in Seoul since Friday, expecting the delivery of materials from Tokyo. I will reprocess them into large square lamps to hang along the long wall at O Patro Vys in Montreal. It's really art on the edge of decor, but the fact that the imagery is from my skin, it has that macabre element which seems to push it artward.

I researched the legend of the lamps made from human skin. They are famous, but did they really exist? According to all I read, despite the reality of the horrifical scale of nazi atrocities, the lamp of human skin remains a legend and has never been proven to exist.

I didn't choose to make these lamps. I have been working with surfaces of skin for 4 years now. The idea just occured to me and I was inspired... only after reflecting on it I became aware of it's historical resonance. The lamp of human skin has come to represent the nec plus ultra of repugnant acts committed by the Nazis, in part, I believe because it is so horribly beautiful. despite the circumstances of its removal the idea of illuminating a human from inside eternally, with electric light has a kind of faustian ecstacy about it.

The lamp made of human skin may or may not have existed, but I have come to acknowledge that it has a horrible glamour that captivates the world to this day. Jews and non-jews alike. The story, if it is only that, came from people in conditions of excruciating misery and utter despair. The story, the image itself is evidence of the unbearable experiences and sheer unmenschlichkeit (inhumanity) of the industrial extermination and work camps of 60 years ago.

A few weeks ago I visited the Shoah museum in Paris, right across the street from where I was staying at the Cite International des Arts. From the window I could see the queues stretching around the block on the weekends, they long strands of schoolchildren shepherded there before lunchtime on field trips, and tourists and locals waiting patiently to go though the bullet- and maybe bomb-proof security booth so discretely built into the enterance you don't know its there until it's almost your turn.

Some Parisians complained that the Shoah has become a kind of religion in France. I guess this is a valid comment to counterbalance with gallic irony the startlingly articulate, hard-hitting and well paced communication in this museum. Compared with the crowded, confused and ineffectual exhibit in the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Shoah museum packs a real punch and stays coherent - I haven't seen the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, but it would be hard to beat this one, especially in its frank and in depth acknowledgement of French tolerance, involvement and collaboration with the worst of Nazi policy.

One of the most horrible exhibits is a bag made fromhuman hair. If one looks closely one can see the little curly ends of hair lifting indomitable from the woven surface of the bag. incredible. unforgettable. and yet, please don't hate me, a person does not have to die for hair to be harvested for industrial applications such as this. There is a gulf of mournful meaning between the physical evidence of the heartless reuse of human materials for industrial applications and the lightless void and screamless silence of the unrecoverable exterminated millions.

When a half-filled auditorium heard Elie Wiesel ask "WIll the world ever learn" to close his commemoration speech for the 60th anniverary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps , many must have sighed with despair. This eloquent witness made a simple and moving appeal, but the fact is that human beings can only evolve so fast. Despite the unbridled exploits of our technology, we humans are deep down largely the same animal we were 10,000 years ago. The world will learn, Mr. Wiesel, but slowly, with excruciating setbacks and unsung accomplishment.