"When I arrived in Japan I ridiculed the Katas and of all the secrets that were supposed to be hidden there. Previously, in Europe, both Katas that I had practised (Nage-no and Katemono) had not impressed me at all. I think today that it is because they had never been correctly taught to me. I thus thought only of smashing doors with even more power and force, to “smash best”, more and more quickly, while I saw around me innumerable quantities of keys which seemed able to open doors without damage, without deploying useless power.
It took me a good six months in Japan, of sensational and unchained brawls, alongside wise and erudite Katas, before I came, exhausted, tired and annoyed, to a final door that was too thick for me to break down. Finally, angrily, I took the key, that had been there all along, from one of the gently smiling old masters of the Kôdôkan. And I opened the door by quite simply turning the key in the lock.
It is only since I began the study of Katas that I have possessed the keys of Judo, “the keys of the famous doors, thick or not”! ... And the ordinary public does not see anything interesting in the fact that one opens a door with a key instead of smashing it down brutally. One says: “Yes, obviously, it is too simple, everyone can do it.” Yet to smash a door seems increasingly ludicrous!"
Judo – Yves Klein
(Text selected by Ian Whittlesea from Yves Klein’s published writings and journals. Translations by Klaus Ottmann, Sidra Stich, Anna Follo, Emmanuelle Ollier and Ian Whittlesea.)
Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen (Everything You Need to Know about Chemistry), a title based on a one-off edition of a notebook with blank pages, published by an international science publisher, combines new and existing work by a group of artists who relate in a similar way to the physical interaction between people and things. The international group exhibition features work in which repetition, concentration and precision play a key role, and movement and translation lead to transformation. The exhibition functions as an imaginary catalogue of action and the senses. The relationship between body and medium is explored in audio and video installations, drawings and performances. With work by artists including: Helen Dowling, Bram Vreven, Sara Campos, Rik Smits, Jelle Feringa, Jorinde Voigt, Joyce Hinterding, Sharon Houkema, Martin Howse & Martin Kuentz, GX-Jupitter Larsen & Jessica King (The Haters), Bruce Nauman & Frank Owen, Dennis Oppenheim and Joan Jonas. A screening program and music performances will run in parallel to the exhibition.
Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen is part of a long-running program by Den Haag based art organization TAG that investigates and critically questions the relationship between media art and contemporary visual art, and in which perception is central. The exhibition does not involve the analytical assessment of that perception, as within the long tradition of aesthetics and optics, or a purely technological mediation of the perception. Instead, it is an experience of Befindlichkeit (existential orientation), of the physical interaction between people and things, as described, for example, by Gernot Böhme: a primary experience of atmosphere, of “moods” that can be encountered in human and natural surroundings, in which there is no sharp distinction between person and thing. In Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen, the experience of winds, of feeling, of substance occurs through different manners of physical presence. The relationship between body and medium leads, either through the creation or perception of work, to the experience of a mental space where alternative ways of understanding the body may arise.
The artists in Alles, was Sie über Chemie wissen müssen start their thinking with their own bodies, seeking a balance between levitation and concentration and allowing the public to share in the body’s changing attitudes towards things: accepting, rejecting, surrendering or controlling oneself – or ultimately to experience an inevitable loss of control.
Hicham Khalidi and Suzanne Wallinga, curators of the exhibition.