Mike Kelley Educational Complex Onwards, 1995 – 2008

WIELS Contemporary Arts Center, 12.4. – 27.7.2008


The barren title “Educational Complex Onwards” sounds like analysis and unpleasant for school as an educational institution and torture chamber. Mike Kelley has started the alleged dispute with the educational system in 1995, because everyone assumed that his excessive work, especially his stuffed stuffed animals, had to somehow be associated with a disturbed development process. In 1983 McMartin Preschool made headlines for child abuse. America’s media and subsequently the whole society revel in their disclosure. The process of the pre-school events in the elegant Manhattan Beach is one of the longest in American legal history at the age of ten.

“My original fascination revolves around the controversies in the” repressed memory syndrome “.” So he has set himself up from his memories of childhood, school time, traces of secret indoctrination and even sexual abuse.
The attempt to reconstruct all the schools he has ever visited from the memory failed as expected. Mike Kelley starts a new start with the help of old photo-documents and floor plans. An ‘image’, which in any way would be attributed to an objective perception or even biographical facts, will not be derived from it either. Hardly to assume that this was ever his artistic intention. The irritating climate of a biography is best suited as a film for Kelley’s fundamental interest in philosophical and psychological systems and their banalization in the heated climate of the consumer and media society, which is based on facts and pseudofacts.

The extent to which the Educational Complex, launched in 1995, finally aggregates as a pseudobiographical space the poetically proliferative and exemplarily abstracting form of a total work of art exploring all expressive possibilities between ciphered sketches and theatrical performances, scanty sculptures and nostalgic nipple compositions, sounding like real documents and merciless stage sings New center for contemporary art in Brussels, Wiels, in a fascinatingly disturbing way. Focusing on the “Educational Complex”, which continues to this day, pushes between post-minimalist barbarism and baroque spectacle into a fulminantly staged turmoil of probabilities and illusions, examinations and exaggerations, and the artistic practice in all directions of cultural and social systems A sensual, engaging and mentally challenging form of experience. In Kelley’s over-arching scenario, the visitor will have to give up two things: frightened – or focus on the abysmal subtlety, formatted and liberating illumination of social and artistic questions, and – biography – the short circuit with the norms, fictions and illusions – Own – present.

At the beginning is the result of the reconstruction of all the schools attended, the “Educational Complex” of 1995 as an ensemble of architectural models in which the mostly left empty parts mark the memory holes. On the last floor, video installations, space scenes, photos sequences stacked on the walls into an over-arching cosmos of possible documents and obvious inventions, of the theatrical compositions superimposed on each other in the interlaced network of image and sound sources. In the all-over of the spectacle, the visitor’s mood is no less cruel than the cliché’s demeanor in the social theater. Her most creepy deputy from the torture chamber of the educational system crouches as a groaning, headless actor’s figure on the steps to the projection stage of “Day is Done, Joseph Supplicates”, 2005. Between the poles of remembrance holes and spectacles, Kelley’s targeted recycling of shattered social and artistic perception notions unfolds as well Analytical as well as poetic art universe in which reality rotates just as much as fiction. Here the utopias of society as well as those of art lay their emptied pods in the nostalgic flatware of “Memory Ware Flat”, 2001, while the old and new myths of Mephisto, Frankenstein, Batman and Co staggering between horror and hope coincide with the archaic pilgrimages Of global crops are an intriguing liaison.

“Educational Complex”, 1995, the ensemble of white architectural models on the table resembles a threatened city from the time, from whose rooms the great society In the flurring white of the memory-holes. Thus the attempts at interpretation, and even the abundant intensified therapies, result in reconstructions of truths and trauma, disasters, and deformations, in which the society of the voyeurs degenerates or ceaselessly breaks into cryptic escape routes and mythical parallel universes. For this, the dream factory in Kelleys Heimat L.A. resides effortless supply. In order to get to the elementary interaction between the forms of power and the power of forms in society and in art, one’s own biography offers itself as a fictional reference space with astonishing self-evidentness. Disguised as a scientific research, the archivist collective rage and the meticulously documented documentation drive the sparse backdrops of the existing into the most profound forms of the possibility for which the tunneling systems of the ‘Memory Syndrome’ – suppressed, wrong or lost – provide a fictitious grid. The former gives us seriosity; the second impels its results, like the outbursts, from the blinded mirrors of squandered utopias into the backdrop of intertwined dreams, and into the cultic imprint of ecstasies, myths, fictions. From its mixture, the artistic strategy vagabond between nostalgic craftsmanship and pseudo-scientific analysis filters its iridescent, form-finished ‘raw material for a poetically charged experimental archeology of the unfinished present. The theoretical, legal, and media battles for early sexual abuse mutate through the fictional reconstruction of autobiography to the merciless mirror cabinet of a dystopian society in which all utopian designs pervert in art and society in forms of power and control. Above the table of the models are three “Mobiles”, 2002, which as “Repressed Spatial Relationships Rendered as Fluid” infect the reconstruction indicated in the adjacent drawings failed with the unpleasant aura of surveillance apparatuses. In the “Secret Subbasement of Gymnasium Locker Room” remains from the reconstruction of the “Continuous Screening of Bob Clark’s movie, Porky’s’ (1981), the soundtrack of what has been replaced with Morton’s Subotnik’s Electronic Composition, the Wild Bull A labile room, the walls and tables painted with drawings, sketches, plans, and the confusing stale atmosphere of abandoned office spaces. What in a display case of the “flatware memory” in the archaeological background of the charmingly neat items sorted according to ornamental, geometric and figurative motifs – buttons, pendants, badges, coins and other small items still breathes the charm of a memory lost in the circulation of the cultures , Pushes in the tormenting duel between the meticulous dandy and his traumatized protege of “Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction, # 1”, 2000, with a fictional force into an existentialist cliché-theater between sneaky culprits and normative efficiency horror. From the experimental analysis of the genuine and supposed documents from the perverted functional systems, the path leads into the labyrinthic tunneling systems of cultural and subcultural transformations. Their fictional reconstructions and promises are hardly more binding than the tunnel in the “Sublevel”, 2002, of the labyrinth of labyrinths with pink crystals. Anyone who follows the invitation to the study area at the Institute of Arts finds a closed space, the space of the unspeakable. Kelley ‘s analysis of the status quo of the present, rooted in efficiency norms and search for meaning, drives a carnevalesk camouflaged, abysmally precise play with the unfinished beach property of utopias, fictions and illusions in the diffuse memory of society and art.

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