BRUNO VON ULM and DAPHNE VLASSIS
MARK KINGWELL & RADOSLAW KUDLINSKI (BLUE REPUBLIC)
in partnership with
Mademoiselle Kobro is a new Blue Republic initiative, intended as an open forum for the presentation of cutting-edge artists, curators, cultural thinkers, and activists, whose practice and research strongly is attuned to the changing paradigms of our time, and the recognition of an urgent need for the expansion of the definition of art.
This initiative is a space without a space, intended to be mobile in the extreme – you will meet Mademoiselle Kobro in a gallery, in a kitchen of a small apartment, under the bridge, in your head, or in someone else’s pocket – because art can happen everywhere and anywhere, not just where the traps are set.
As Karl Kraus postulated “… language is not the means to distribute ready-made opinions, but rather the medium of the thought itself.” Mademoiselle Kobro, in partnership with Katzman Contemporary, is presenting an exhibition of German artist/medical doctor Bruno von Ulm, and emerging Greek-Canadian artist, Daphne Vlassis. The curators of this exhibition are Mark Kingwell (also the author of the exhibition essays), in collaboration with Blue Republic’s Radoslaw Kudlinski.
On View: March 12 to April 9, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 12 from 2 to 5 p
Mark Kingwell, Radoslaw Kudlinski, and Daphne Vlassis will be present. For further details, please visit the Mademoiselle Kobro Facebook event page.
Bruno von Ulm, Duperele, photo collage, 15” x 7”, 2008
“Vlassis’ work is suffused with a joie de vivre and a sense of hope. Even the rather disturbing self-portraits shot through a drum skin, which show irregular shapes with apparently erased faces of terrible deformations, acquire, in their numbers, a Frankensteinian charm. Yes, these are monsters! But they are monsters possessed of a certain inarticulate tenderness, a touching luminosity, beautiful freaks arrayed in a potentially endless portrait series.
Meanwhile, von Ulm’s celebrated nihilism, his neo-Nietzschean darkness, is worked out in a series of works that are funny, nasty, disturbing, and ironic. We sense the aura of Bruno on the gallery floor, smiling wryly at our presence. Why are you here, friends? What do you hope to gain by travelling to this destination and standing in the presence of these objects? The suggestion is not quite that the joke is on us – the artist mocking those who seek his ‘insight’ for their fecklessness and credulity. It is more general, and more personal, than that. Bruno is aware that the main joke is on him, not us.
We write, and make art, and forge connections; we build institutions, and keep alive the memories of those who have passed from the messy realities of the mortal plane. This is, after all, the only form of immortality we know. This is a series of devil’s bargains that we make with ourselves. Because what else? Perhaps Bruno’s own hopeless half-smile is the ultimate artwork of our confusion, a stamp of cynical approval at the sight of our walking in this space. Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name. Enjoy the show!” – from “Exhibition Notes” by Mark Kingwell, co-curator (2016)
Bruno von Ulm, Paris – Rotterdam 16:55, digital print, 11” x 8.5”, 2010
Bruno von Ulm is a professional enigma, a visual and escape artist, as well as a medical doctor. He has contributed to medical rescue missions in Rwanda, Sudan, and Sierra Leone. He has been involved with visual art projects around the world. He studied art and medicine in Munich and Nuremberg. Presently, von Ulm has no fixed address.
Daphne Vlassis, Jarred #10, digital print, 19 ¾” x 19 ¾”, 2016
Daphne Vlassis is a visual artist and musician, raised in Athens, London, Madrid, and Vienna. She studied visual art, philosophy, and Spanish culture at the University of Toronto, at York University, as well as at the Royal Conservatory. She has exhibited her artwork in Canada, Greece, and the United States. She is based in Toronto and Athens.
Bruno von Ulm and Daphne Vlassis, Pornografia, video still, 2016
Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author or coauthor of 17 books of political, cultural, and aesthetic theory, including the national best-sellers: Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould (2009). In addition to many scholarly articles, his writing has appeared in more than 40 mainstream publications, including: Harper’s, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. Kingwell’s most recent books are the essay collections Unruly Voices (2012) and Measure Yourself Against the Earth (2015).
Radoslaw Kudlinski is a founding member of Blue Republic – a critically acclaimed, multi–disciplinary collaboration with Anna Passakas. The collective has been involved in more than 100 research projects, presentations, and exhibitions in Canada and internationally, including: DAAD (Berlin), Galleria d’arte Moderna (Bologna), Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (Shenzhen/Hong Kong), Ludwig Forum for International Art (Achen), CCA Ujazdowski Castle (Warsaw), Galerie Julio Gonzalez (Paris), Luminato Festival (Toronto), Doris McCarthy Gallery (Scarborough), Darling Foundry (Montreal), and for Galerie René Blouin, Katzman Kamen, and Georgia Scherman Projects. Since 2006, Kudlinski intermittently has been teaching visual art at York University.