Cimetière d’Ixelles: Helena Almeida, Germaine Kruip, Jochen Lempert, Alexandra Leykauf, and Eva Löfdahl
An Art in General New Commission by Lisa Oppenheim & Lisa Tan
September 21–October 19, 2013
Opening: Saturday, September 21, 6–8pm
Art in General
79 Walker Street
New York, NY 10013
Using Marcel Broodthaers’s elaborate tombstone and the cemetery in which he is buried as a point of departure, artists Lisa Oppenheim and Lisa Tan present Cimetière d’Ixelles, a group exhibition of work by contemporary artists Helena Almeida, Germaine Kruip, Jochen Lempert, Alexandra Leykauf, and Eva Löfdahl.
Broodthaers’s headstone, designed when he knew he was dying, is both an artwork and a memento mori. Inspired by the tombstone as the intersection of the world of the living and the world of the dead, Lisa Oppenheim and Lisa Tan have selected five singular works that come together to illuminate the overlap between the here and there, and the past and present.
When she came looking for B’s grave a few months after he died in the Hotel de Francia in Port Bou, A found nothing. Nothing, that is, other than one of the most beautiful places she had ever seen. “It was not to be found,” she wrote S shortly afterwards, “his name was not written anywhere.” Yet according to the records provided by the town hall of Port Bou, one of B’s traveling companions, Frau G had paid out seventy-five pesetas for the rental of a “niche” for five years on September 28, 1940, two days after B died from what was diagnosed by the local doctor as cerebral apoplexy, but is generally understood to have been suicide by a massive overdose of morphine tablets.
Yet name or no name, the place was overwhelming.
“The cemetery faces a small bay directly looking over the Mediterranean,” wrote A. “It is carved in stone in terraces; the coffins are also pushed into such stone walls. It is by far one of the most fantastic and most beautiful spots I have ever seen in my life.”
S was not impressed. Years later he seemed downright dismissive, bringing his book-length memoir of B to an end with these words: “Certainly the spot is beautiful, but the grave is apocryphal.” It was an abrupt and sour note on which to end the story of a life, as if the dead man and therefore we, too, had been cheated of an ending, and what we had gotten instead was a suspension, a book whose last page was missing.