press release

STUK is delighted to present the work of visual artist Joachim Koester.

The exhibition focuses on the recent video installation Maybe this act, this work, this thing. In the film, we witness two vaudeville actors, working on a new act in a dimly-lit theatre. Spurred by the development of the cinematic apparatus, they attempt to transform themselves into a film machine. The actors become cogs, wheels, moving belts, and quivering electricity. They whisper, dance, stomp, grab and roll as they mime the mechanics of the machinery. Their actions are marked by a great urgency. Unless they can utilize this technology to create an act, their ability to make a living as performers will come to an end.

Many of Koester’s recent films have been anchored in the concept that traces of histories and events can be found within our nervous and muscular systems as forgotten memories that can be awakened through movement and gesture. Following this thread of thought, Maybe this act, this work, this thing is a kinesthetic echo of the birth of the film medium and the cultural shifts it induced. Koester draws a comparison to his own practice: "the struggle of the vaudeville actors to create an identity in the face of great forces can be seen as mirroring my own artistic practice," he says. In both contexts the attempt to remain relevant hinges on the development of an "act" producing an alternative space of possibility through technologies, bodies and minds.

In STUK, Maybe this act, this work, this thing is presented next to a selection of recent works, including Of Spirits and Empty Spaces (2012), which can be understood as a parallel piece to Maybe this act, this work, this thing, the Praying Mantis film and accompanying photographs (2015) and three meditation tracks: Department of Abandoned Futures, Drifting through Passaic, and Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles (2016).

The exhibition Maybe this act, this work, this thing is part of the exhibition series MOVING IMAGE EXPO—a series of solo exhibitions by contemporary visual artists who have a particular affinity for the moving image and spatial video installations. Previous exhibitions in this series include Emre Hüner—Neochronophobiq; John Akomfrah—Auto Da Fé; and Bjørn Melhus—The Theory of Freedom.

Joachim Koester
(b. 1962, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Joachim Koester is a Danish visual artist, working primarily with photography, video and film. In his practice one can identify both a deep interest for an experimental use of the body and the mind as well as a fascination for materials related to the "occult." His works are full of references, though not all readily and explicitly present. His work thus continuously invites layers of interpretation. His work has been presented internationally with recent solo shows at Camden Arts Centre, London (2017); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2016); Forum Eugénio de Almeida, Evora, Portugal (2015); Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2014); and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013). Joachim Koester is represented by Jan Mot (Brussels), Galleri Nicolai Wallner (Denmark), and Greene Naftali (New York). He lives and works between New York and Copenhagen.