ABOUT THIS ISSUE
A Prior Magazine #10, is the first publication introducing Ana Torf’s versatile work during the 1993-2003 period. Essays by Jean Torrent, Dirk Lauwaert and Dirk Pultau are published in English, Dutch and French. Over the past 10 years Torfs’ work developed into a self-willed oeuvre attracting more and more interest, also on an international scale. Ana Torfs investigates, among other things, the issue of the portrait. The relationship between text and image, between reading and representing, is brought up again and again in, among others, a 35 mm film, photo series, a video installation, various slide projection installations and autonomous artist’s publications. Torfs’ work has been selected for prestigious exhibitions at home and abroad, such as the Biennial of Lyon in 1995, the Biennial of Montreal in 2000, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in 2001, ForwArt in Brussels in 2002, National Gallery Zacheta in Warsaw in 2003.
In A Prior Magazine #10 Torfs presents an extensive visual portfolio, counting over 100 pages. Additionally three authors elaborate on various aspects of her multi-layered body of work: in a wonderful literary text Jean Torrent outlines a number of mutual relations, ‘correspondences’, between Torfs’ work and unnoticed relationships, unheard correspondences and new stories paired off with them by the author; Dirk Lauwaert approaches Torfs’ ‘working with texts’ in a very concise and refined text; and in ‘The blind singer and the absent composer’ Dirk Pultau analyses the use of music, voice and the interdisciplinary in two works by Torfs.
Ana Torfs is more than the central artist in the 10th issue of A Prior Magazine. She also took up the part of guest curator for the magazine inviting Belgian artist Franciska Lambrechts (b.1967). With Identity Crisis Lambrechts presents a new artist’s project. From the work of Belgian author Daniel Robberechts (b.1937), who passed away in 1992, Torfs opted for a thus far unpublished journal fragment from 1969.
Reading as a Form of Writing
The Blind Singer & the Absent Composer
Journal 01 09 69 - 12 09 69
On a Journal Fragment by Daniël Robberechts
Monday June 14, a Letter from Trancoso, BA
Squid on Pants
No Ego: Preserving the Exchange between Artist and Audience
Dia Art Foundation announces the launch of Approximations/Contradictions, a project for the web by Belgian artist Ana Torfs (b.1963). Approximations/Contradictions can be seen at http://www.diaart.org/torfs beginning December 2, 2004.
The opening party also celebrates a new issue of A Prior Magazine, which spotlights the work of Ana Torfs. Approximations/Contradictions For Approximations/Contradictions, Torfs focused on the Hollywood Songbook, a collection of very brief, powerful songs written by the German-Austrian composer Hanns Eisler in 1942 and 1943 while he was in exile in California. She elicited powerful performances from a group of very talented, diverse people singing the songs, and weaves them together into something entertaining and beautiful yet deeply disturbing and compelling. In Approximations/Contradictions Torfs filmed 21 performers, creating “close-up portraits” of each singer performing three evocative versions (Approximations) of a song. Of the full set of 49 songs from Eisler’s Hollywood Songbook, Torfs selected 21 compositions for her project. Through his compositions for the Hollywood Songbook, Eisler was interested in translating his impressions of war, exile, and Hollywood. While the lyrics for his compositions include texts by Holderlin, Rimbaud, Goethe and others, the lyrics of the songs selected by Torfs were written by Bertolt Brecht, Eisler’s frequent collaborator in Berlin before both men fled Germany in 1933. Torfs researched Eisler’s work extensively, formulating an idea of how he would have intended this material, both dark and witty (Contradictions), to be performed. Her assumptions were confirmed by Irmgard Arnold, a German soprano Torfs befriended, who worked intensively with Eisler at the end of the 1950s. Apart from her special guest Irmgard Arnold (now 85), Torfs searched for 20 other character performers, primarily actors and singers of multiple nationalities living in Belgium, most of whom are not classically trained.
Ana Torfs, Approximations/Contradictions, installation view K21/Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 2010 © photo: Ana Torfs
A Prior Magazine #10 was made with the support of Het Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, De Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, IBK, Stad Brussel/La Ville de Bruxelles, Mees Pierson and Duvel.