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Michel Majerus

Press release

Michel Majerus – Home Videos

Selected by Jordan Wolfson

The Michel Majerus Estate is pleased to announce the opening of Michel Majerus Home Videos, selected by Jordan Wolfson, on the occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin. A composite video compiled by Wolfson draws from the personal archive of Majerus and merges encounters, observations and casual documentation from Majerus’ life and his cultural environment. Artist Jordan Wolfson (b. 1980) has selected and edited a series of excerpts created between 1998 and 2002, which draw from a multitude of aesthetic and thematic viewpoints. 
Wolfson places at the fore shots taken by Majerus of his landline answering machine, recorded with a hand-held camera at close range. Messages from February to November 2002 play, in which the voices of artists Heike-Karin Föll, Milena Muzquiz, Sixten Kai Nielsen, Jorge Pardo, Christopher Wool and two unidentified people materialize, relaying a mix of intimate communication, quotidian arrangements, missed connections and professional approaches. The messages were recorded while Majerus was living and working between Los Angeles and Berlin, at the studio now housing the Michel Majerus Estate. These visual records of an ordinarily auditory phenomenon reveal Majerus’ interest in a sensory cross-section, his self-reflection and the ideation of his own absence.  
Further excerpts traverse Majerus’ broad field of vision. From a hotel room in Venice he captures images from MTV – a scene from the impish comedy Beavis and Butthead and the mesmerizing music video for Björk’s All is Full of Love (1997). An abstracted video shows a silvered, crumpled interior of a near-empty bag of snacks where light plays across its foil surface. Majerus can be heard remarking it would make a good installation. A familial video captures his father, Jean, and mother Edith, sharing glances and a moment of closeness at home with the artist in Luxembourg. The compilation then cuts to an outdoor scene, where Majerus turns the camera on himself. After setting up the recording, Majerus sits on a bench in the Giardini of Venice during the preparation of his contribution for the Biennale of 1999, and flicks through the catalogue of the Kunsthalle Basel exhibition where his work was featured – a curiously layered moment of self-perception. Another shot from the Giardini of Venice seemingly contrasts the ‘high-art’ it claims to contain – zooming into a crass poster for women’s swimwear. A clip of a technician being directed by Majerus as though sitting for a portrait cuts to the tinny noise of Air’s Sexy Boy (1998), playing in a sunlit view from Majerus’ room at the Highland Gardens Hotel in Los Angeles – a hotel particular known for its guests, including Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and other influential musicians. Returning to MTV, Wolfson has foregrounded a watch advert filmed from the television by Majerus that combines a passion of Majerus – skateboarding – with youth-culture advertising. A brief shot of a lampshade breaks up the return to a surreal music video of empty chairs moving around the room, just before the video’s end.   
The composite video created by Jordan Wolfson of Majerus’ recordings offers insight into the multiple positions, influences and ideas that occupied Majerus during a period of artistic consolidation and increasing renown. The videos acknowledge Majerus’ omnivorous approach to media and creation, and highlight his original vision, which continues to inspire both Majerus’ peers and a new generation of artists. 
Wolfson’s connection of Majerus’ diverse strands of thought underlines Wolfson’s longstanding interest in the work of Michel Majerus. Born 1980 in New York, Jordan Wolfson draws from popular media, advertising, technology, art history and internet subcultures to produce artworks with a sharp social comment. Encompassing sculpture, film, installation, performance and painting, Wolfson’s work often calls on a surreal cast of characters of his own invention to assert his ideas and reflect on sinister narratives of our era. Selected solo exhibitions for Jordan Wolfson include Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016/2017); S.M.A.K., in Ghent (2013); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2011); CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2009); Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, New York (2008); Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo (2007), and the Kunsthalle Zürich (2004).