|8. November - 31. Dezember 2014
Duration: 8 Nov - 31 Dec 2014
Born in 1979 in Berlin, Dennis Rudolph lives and works in Berlin. His colossal art project THE|PORTAL not only traversed different development stages but also traveled through various international locations and contexts such as the Mojave Desert in CA (2012), the project space STATE OF THE ART in Berlin (2014), the Olivier Robert Gallery in Paris (2014) and recently to the Moscow Biennial (2014).
On the one hand, THE|PORTAL is an utopian art project on marking the distinction between East and West and, on the other, on what constitutes the artist’s role in a society based on media networking today. Rudolph has been involved with the project since 2012. The precise location for THE|PORTAL yet to be build is California City, a failed urban development project in the Mojave Desert. Founded in 1958 by Nat Mendelsohn (1915–1984), who, at the time, was a successful real estate developer and sociology professor, is now almost completely forgotten. With his California City project, Mendelsohn’s goal was to design a model city that would one day compete with the megacity of Los Angeles, but in terms of demographics, the city didn’t even come close. A similar stroke of fate seems to hit Rudolph's THE PORTAL project, being after two years still far away from „finished".
Within the framework of this large-scale project, Rudolph sets out to create an artificial threshold in the midst of the Mojave Desert, most prominently drawing on art-historical predecessors such as Lorenzo Ghiberti (“The Gates of Paradise,” 1425–52) and Auguste Rodin (“The Gates of Hell,” 1880–1917). Thematically, iconographically and stylistically, Rudolph pushes boundaries, mixing Californian modernism with European baroque, punctuating it all with kitschy scenes that quote Hollywood images or even simple portraits of social network platforms such as Facebook. In a recent study, portraits of missing California children form the doorframe of THE PORTAL, symbolizing the in-between state of being neither dead nor alive, after Dante’s “Divine Comedy” (1321).
For the show at the Jette Rudolph Gallery, Dennis Rudolph has installed a multimedia promotion booth, advertising the construction of a portal in California. As a mix of a booth at the International Tourism Fair and the project presentation of an architecture firm, the art installation involves a setting of desert sand and palm trees, thus transporting the Californian lifestyle and the atmosphere of California City into the halls of the gallery space. In a weekly changing program, Rudolph gives keynote presentations about the project, hosts talk shows and discussions etc., evolving around the topics generated by a project on building a gateway between heaven and hell. All the presented artworks, from real-size studies of THE|PORTAL on handmade ceramic tiles, to painted portraits of supporters of THE|PORTAL’s Facebook site (in the tradition of patronage paintings) to merchandise articles (coffee mugs, T-shirts, postcards, etc.) are stripped of their appearance and become mere products. This brings another aspect to the installation to promote THE|PORTAL: The Gift Shop.
Within the context of the gallery, Dennis Rudolph’s art project THE|PORTAL serves as an artwork in progress. The gallery version refers to these dissolved borders between art and non-art, dealing with the “ethical-political potential of the aesthetic experience in favor of indirect participation and reflexive visualization of the cultural and social horizons” (Juliane Rebentisch).
(Text: J. Rudolph // Translation: Cathy Lara & Associates)