"I still think the social function of art is that kind of negative aesthetic. Otherwise there’s no social function for it."
What makes a compelling story? How do artists disrupt everyday reality in the service of revealing subtler truths? This episode features artists who explore the virtues of ambiguity, mix genres, and merge aesthetic disciplines to discern not simply what stories mean, but how and why they come to have meaning.
Katharina Grosse creates wildly colorful sculptural environments and paintings that unite the fluid perception of landscape with the ordered hierarchy of painting. Her work is a material record—a story—and, perhaps, an inscription of her thoughts, or an illusion. Grosse uses boat building techniques to create monumental abstract sculptures for display at Brooklyn’s Metrotech Plaza, while at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, she adds layers of paint to a room filled with soil as a painted sculpture pierces through the building’s architecture. Shown at work in her Berlin studio, Grosse leads viewers through the recent project I Think This Is a Pine Tree at the Hamburger Bahnhof. In Sweden, pioneering artist Joan Jonas performs at both Umeå Jazzfestival with musician Jason Moran, and at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, where she reconfigures her 1969 performance Mirror Piece. Working in performance, video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, Jonas finds inspiration in mythic stories, investing texts from the past with the politics of the present. Wearing masks and drawing while performing on stage, Jonas disrupts the conventions of theatrical storytelling to emphasize potent symbols and critical self-awareness. In multi-channel video installations, Omer Fast blurs the boundaries between documentary, dramatization, and fantasy, frequently generating viewers’ confusion. Fast plays with our assumptions about identity and the structure of dramatic narrative, revealing shades of meaning as stories are told, retold, and mythologized.done reading