Joachim Koester

Pit Music & Day for Night, Christiania 1996

Greene Naftali, New York

Press Release

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Joachim Koester, Day for Night, Christiania, 1996. C-print. 26 x 38 1/2 inches (66 x 97.8 cm)

It is a great pleasure to present an exhibition by Joachim Koester. This exhibition will consist of the two works Pit Music and Day for Night, Christiania 1996.

The title Pit Music refers to the music coming from the orchestra pit in a theater and to the set-up of the installation which also consists of a stage and a pit. Apart from this, the work is a video documentation of a concert in the gallery with a string quartet, sitting in a pit and playing a Shostakovich concert (No. 8 110 in C minor) in front of an audience, which stands on the stage.

The concert is shot like a scene in a film, using several takes. The emphasis is on documenting the interaction between the musicians and the audience. However, Joachim Koester's intention is to stress an element of fiction in this relationship using two simple filmic elements; image and music. They are both narratives as single elements, but when acting and interacting as each other's counter narratives, they create a more complex relationship. The relationship between the music as representation and effect and the images as reality-documents and carefully chosen and arrange constructions.

The music continues uninterrupted all through the video. However, due to the editing and images in slow motion and stop motion the music changes between being represented as what could be termed diegetic and non diegetic - referring to reality vs. fiction as interdependent concepts, as well as the idea of showing art and causing a response.

The edited video of the concert will be presented in the exhibition as a video projection in the set-up of the installation.

The other work in the exhibition is Day for Night, Christiania 1996. For quite a while Joachim Koester has been interested in the cinematic technique "day for night", the technique used when filming a night scene during the day. It is a standard technique. The title of Francois Truffaut's film "la Nuit Americaine" is a reference to this.

Over a period of time Joachim Koester has been doing tests, trying to adapt the "day for night" technique to still photography. The project is a series of photographs from Christiania, a special site in Copenhagen.

Christiania is a community situated near the centre of the city. It is one of the only communities in Europe where an alternative and anarchistic society has developed and survived over a longer period of time, in part due to a large amount of good-will from the Danish government who consider Christiania a "social experiment".

Christiania was founded in 1971 by squatters occupying a former military base. Within a few years, the appearance of the place was totally changed, leaving room for almost every kind of activity, from ecological kindergartens to a very well-organized marked for hashish. The intention of the squatters was to create a "city within the city"; a place with more freedom than anywhere else, and today Christiania still employs a collective economy and does not submit to the laws of Denmark.

By documenting Christiania through a series of "day for night" photographs Joachim Koester creates a different kind of imagery. Day for night: both day and night in the same image. Like Christiania, dream and reality: the dream of creating a perfect community compared to the reality of the place. The project is an attempt to retrace this dream through the reality of the place today.

The project Day for Night, Christiania 1996 will also be exhibited in the exhibition Escape Attempts which takes place on Christiania from August 16. The work will be presented in the form of a slim show and as photographs.


Greene Naftali
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New York, NY 10001

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