ART CENTRAL HONG KONG, March 21-26, 2016 - BOOTH R11

Featured Artists: Anna Schuleit Haber and Marco Godinho

Anna Schuleit Haber, a German-born American artist, and Marco Godinho, a Portuguese-born Luxenburgian artist, are nomads in their lifestyles and creative processes. They are both very comfortable working with a variety of media. Anna is a painter, but she is also widely known for her large installations in mental asylums and hospitals which helped her get recognized with the MacArthur Genius Award. Although she has become a public figure through her immersive performative public works, the last of which involved redesigning a newspaper, in our booth Anna is presenting her most intimate and important artistic practice –  her painting. On the other hand, Marco Godinho is continuing his research of time with Endless Time Searching, presenting his latest work from this series at the booth. His body of work is diverse and includes installation, drawing, sculpture, and performance – reflecting Marco’s varied and fearless practice. This show is Anna’s and Marco's debut in Hong Kong.

Their bodies of work share three key obsessions: language, passage of time and immediate human scale.

Language and books: Marco’s performance at the fair is based on a Portuguese 18th century classic The Lusiads, and Anna’s works from the Voice Imitator series are based on the Austrian 20th century classic by Thomas Bernhart of the same name. Both artists have immersed themselves in the written word, which they re-interpret, internalize, and then re-use. Anna appropriates Bernhart’s short stories into even shorter abstracted texts which are then used as titles for her abstract paintings: one text, one painting, one story. Marco often writes original texts that are then “hidden” within the work, such as in Black Ocean that is based on his original poem, however, only the first and the last word are seen at the final work.

Passage of time is another common preoccupation of these artists. Marco’s series Endless Time Searching questions the concept of time and our ability to capture it. Anna's Voice Imitator series sets out on a journey through 104 stories, each of which encapsulates a human lifespan and often includes the death of the protagonist. Her seemingly spontaneous works such as the Antrim triptych are born through abstracting her long hours spent with a mentally ill patients. Marco’s work on the passage of time reflects the process, but most importantly the experience involved with the time that it takes to complete each work.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, what sets them apart is the human scale of their work and the immediate visceral presence of the artist in their exploration. Marco, unlike many conceptual artists of his generations, does not generate ideas which are then sent to a workshop to be manufactured or created by a team of assistants. His work would be rendered meaningless by such processes. Every work of art is produced by the artist; they are capsules of time, often countless hours spent writing a poem until it turns into a black ocean of ink, or the cleaning of a ruler until the measurement units are no longer visible and then reapplying them from memory. His most recent testimony to his process was the installation of our booth at Art Central Hong Kong. Marco installed every single piece of his artwork himself, reassembling them to fit the space and our booths purpose. He was one of the first artists to arrive on build-up day and the very last to leave after 11 pm. After visiting Anna’s studio, Nannette Vonnegut wrote "Her drawings and paintings show us where she has been, always saying, ‘Human being here’…Her work stands in direct proportion to life…Explosive and seriously playful." This quality of being “in direct proportion to life” sets Anna apart from many abstract painters of her generation, who seek to make grand abstract gestures on an uber-large scale. In her immediate visceral presence she is perhaps closest to Anselm Kiefer, whose work she greatly admires.

MARCO GODINHO: “Left to Their Own Fate”- Performance

Beginning during the opening hours of Art Central Hong Kong 2016, Marco Godinho’s performance “Left to Their Own Fate” involves the reading of the 18th century Portuguese epic poem Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads) by Luís Vaz de Camões. The artist will silently read from the book in Sapar Contemporary's booth, as well as throughout the fair. The readings times will be randomly selected by the artist and will never be announced in advance. When the artist finishes a page he will stamp it with the title of the performance, location and date. He will then hand the page to a random visitor who, at this very moment, just happens to pass by. 

The Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões probably completed Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads) in a grotto in Macau in 1556. This epic poem is a fantastical interpretation of Portuguese voyages of discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries. The performance, "Left to Their Own Fate,’’ deals with the idea of a territory being perceived as a “foreign land,” as well as the complexity of encountering strangers. Each page is intended to find its own fate. Each page will travel to different cities, countries or continents. The pages are intended to draw a mental map, a kind of constellation of perceived strangers around the world.