Joachim Koester

  • Exhibitions
  • Works
  • Biography
  • Bibliography

Current and upcoming

07/07 - 31/01

Vampiros. La evolución del mito
CaixaForum Barcelona (ES)

24/09 - 10/01

Danser Brut
BOZAR, Brussels

26/09 - 03/01

Possessed 
MO.CO., Montpellier (FR)

27/11 - 07/03 (solo)
Joachim Koester
The way out is the way in
Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz (DE)

23/01 - 24/05

Kosmos Emma Kunz
Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aargau (CH)

25/02 - 13/06

Vampiros. La evolución del mito
CaixaForum Zaragoza (ES)

08/07 - 31/10

Vampiros. La evolución del mito
CaixaForum Sevilla (ES)

Exhibitions at Jan Mot

09/09/16 - 08/10/16

Sometimes when you blink you may see trees
Joachim Koester - Stefan A. Pedersen, sound pieces
Juliaan Lampens, daybeds
Jonathan Muecke, lamps
In collaboration with Maniera

12/06/15 - 27/07/15

Manon de Boer, Joachim Koester, Ian Wilson

06/11/14 - 29/11/14

Joachim Koester
The Place of Dead Roads

26/01/13 - 02/03/13

Joachim Koester
Reptile brain, or reptile body, it's your animal

29/01/11 - 19/03/11

Joachim Koester
I myself am only a receiving apparatus

19/01/06 - 26/02/06

Joachim Koester
Histories

05/05/05 - 18/06/05

Joachim Koester
New Works

09/12/04 - 29/01/05

Robert Barry, Manon de Boer, Pierre Bismuth, Daniel Buren, Douglas Gordon Joachim Koester, David Lamelas, Jonathan Monk, Mario Garcia Torres, Ian Wilson
Today is just a copy of yesterday

24/10/02 - 23/11/02

Joachim Koester
The Tools of My Trade

27/09/02 - 19/10/02

Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Sven Augustijnen, Richard Billingham, Pierre Bismuth, Manon de Boer, Rineke Dijkstra, Honoré ∂'O, Dora García, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Joachim Koester, Sharon Lockhart, Deimantas Narkevičius, Uri Tzaig, Ian Wilson
New Space Opening Show

26/10/00 - 25/11/00

Joachim Koester
Row Housing

21/09/00 - 21/10/00

Joachim Koester
Nordenskiöld and the Ice Cap

11/02/98 - 21/03/98

Joachim Koester

Works

Joachim Koester
Untitled (Cocaine #8), 2019
silver gelatin print
30,4 x 26,2 cm (image), 46,2 x 39,6 cm (frame)

Joachim Koester
Untitled (Cocaine #6), 2019
silver gelatin print
30,4 x 26,2 cm (image), 46,2 x 39,6 cm (frame)

Joachim Koester
Untitled (Cocaine #2), 2019
silver gelatin print
30,4 x 26,2 cm (image), 46,2 x 39,6 cm (frame)

Joachim Koester
Untitled (Cocaine #1), 2019
silver gelatin print
30,4 x 26,2 cm (image), 46,2 x 39,6 cm (frame)

Joachim Koester H. Grandis (1), 2015

Joachim Koester
H. Grandis (1), 2015
inkjet print, framed
112 x 87 cm (frame)
edition of 5 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester Idolomantis diabolica (2), 2015

Joachim Koester
Idolomantis diabolica (2), 2015
inkjet print, framed
112 x 87 cm (frame)
edition of 5 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester
The Place of Dead Roads, 2013
16 mm transferred to HD video, color, sound
33 minutes 31 seconds
edition of 7 and 2 A.P.
(excerpt)

In the video installation, The Place of Dead Roads, four down-and-out androgynous cowboys engage in the ritual of posing, circling, drawing guns, shooting and other gestures linked to the Western film genre. Rather than being driven by a narrative, their actions are motivated by hidden messages transmitted from a world deep within their bodies. Gradually, as the cowboys engage in an exploration of these dark sensations, the jerks and involuntary movements of their actions come to resemble an odd kind of dance. The setting is a subterranean world that resembles a dust-ridden gold mine. The cowboys roam through this confused maze of underground hallways, rooms, and spaces.

I kept thinking of a quote by Wilhelm Reich while working on this project: “Every muscular contraction contains the history and meaning of its origin.” I'm probably reading something different into "history and meaning" than Reich would, but I find it interesting to see the drawing of guns in this context. The gesture becomes embedded as a memory and history on a micro muscular level. Staying within the Reichian terminology, The Place of Dead Roads also contains sparks of hope. The “happy dance,” the hypnagogic disco-like movements that occasionally take possession of the cowboys, can be seen as an attempt to end the spell of historic violence by breaking through what Reich referred to as “body armor.”

The title, The Place of Dead Roads, is derived from a William S. Burroughs novel about time-traveling gun slingers from the Wild West on a quest for immortality. Burroughs explained that roads are not dead because they are “unused,” but because they are "used by the dead." In my film, these “dead roads” are transformed into a “shadow realm,” a labyrinthine territory where the traversing cowboys compulsively repeat the gestures related to a shootout.

by Joachim Koester

Joachim Koester
Maybe one must begin with some particular places, 2012
16 mm film, black and white, silent
2 minutes 48 seconds
edition of 5 and 2 A.P.
Installation view at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen 2012

In the late 1960s, the Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski abandoned theatre to create a system of “motions” and “spatial practices” that made him one of the main contributors to contemporary performance. Grotowski replaced the conventional structure of drama with improvised activities, games and a psychophysical system of exercises to train and refine the bodily and mental awareness of the actor.

Exploring the intersection of performance, anthropology and ritual, Grotowski developed works that would last for days or weeks. They would take place – often without an audience – at remote locations, like an old farmhouse in rural Poland, an abandoned castle or the deserts and jungles of Mexico.

Grotowski visited Mexico in 1968 and several times after that. During one of these trips, in 1985, Grotowski planned and directed a work involving 14 volunteers outside the city of Tepalcingo, Morelos. Like the charlatan shaman Carlos Castaneda, or the founder of the “Theatre of Cruelty” Antonin Artaud before him, the “wilderness” of Mexico became a scene to expand the boundaries of self and presence.

Grotowski’s “motions” and “spatial practices” make up an archive of gestures and ideas and engaging in this tradition is an evocation of its claims and promises. Maybe one must begin with some particular places is a film of Grotowski’s psychophysical exercises. The actor is Jaime Soriano, who also participated in the work in Tepalcingo in 1985, and the location is the terrace of the Luis Barragán House in Mexico City.

by Joachim Koester

Joachim Koester
Reptile brain, or reptile body, it’s your animal, 2012
16 mm film, color, sound
5 minutes 36 seconds
edition of 5 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester
Some Boarded Up Houses (Baltimore #1), 2010
silver gelatin print
32,5 x 25,5 cm (image), 50 x 42 cm (frame)
edition of 3 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester
Some Boarded Up Houses (Baltimore #3), 2010
silver gelatin print
32,5 x 25,5 cm (image), 50 x 42 cm (frame)
edition of 3 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester
Some Boarded Up Houses (Baltimore #2), 2010
silver gelatin print
32,5 x 25,5 cm (image), 50 x 42 cm (frame)
edition of 3 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester
Some Boarded Up Houses (Baltimore #4), 2010
silver gelatin print
32,5 x 25,5 cm (image), 50 x 42 cm (frame)
edition of 3 and 2 A.P.

Joachim Koester
Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes, 2011
16mm film, black and white, silent
8 minutes 15 seconds
edition of 5 and 2 A.P.

In 1974, Sol LeWitt exhibited 122 variations on the theme of incomplete open cubes presented as sculptures, photographs and schematic drawings. Here, LeWitt continued his lifelong investigation of conceptual and serial procedures, creating a work that animates contradiction by deploying an idea to become a “machine that makes art.” Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes occupies a territory of objective, subjective, rational, compulsive and irrational exchanges. These are inscribed in the tension between the irreproachable system-like logic of its presentation, and the very premise of the “machine” itself, which seems to short-circuit necessity and reason. LeWitt writes that “conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists” and that “irrational judgments lead to new experience.” Perhaps the irrational “new experience ” produced by Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes and its machinery should be understood, apart from being something tangible, as a call to explore or lose oneself in the affective and critical terrain that makes the work and its reception. (J.K.)

Joachim Koester Tarantism

Joachim Koester
Tarantism, 2007
16 mm film, black and white, silent
6 minutes 30 seconds
edition of 5 and 2 A.P.

Tarantism is a condition resulting from the bite of the wolf spider, originally known as the tarantula. The bite causes numerous symptoms in the victim: nausea, difficulties in speech, delirium, heightened excitability and restlessness. The bodies of the bitten are seized by convulsions that previously could only be cured by a sort of frenzied dancing. Even the Bishop of Polignano, who in the seventeenth century allowed himself to be bitten to disprove the cure, felt compelled to dance to relieve his symptoms.

This “dancing-cure” called the Tarantella emerged during the Middle Ages as a local phenomenon in and around the city of Galatina, in southern Italy, and was widespread in the region up until the middle of the twentieth century. Since then, the Tarantella has evolved from a form of uncoordinated movement – where people would “quiver and hurl their heads, shake their knees, grind their teeth and make the actions of madmen” – into a highly stylized dance for couples.

My interest in tarantism is tied to its original form: a dance of uncontrolled and compulsive movements, spasms and convulsions. In the film I have utilized this idea to generate the movements of the dancers. In six individually choreographed parts, the dancers attempt to explore a type of grey zone: the fringes of the body or what might be called the body’s terra incognita. (J.K.)

Biography

Joachim Koester

Born in Copenhagen in 1962
Graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1993
Lives and works in Copenhagen

View full biography

Bibliography