John Skoog at Johan Berggren

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Artists: John Skoog (with Richard Vogel and David Skoog)

Exhibition title: hamletnosferatu

Venue: Johan Berggren, Malmö, Sweden

Date: November 11 – December 17, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Johan Berggren

The exhibition unfolds in two parts around the tragic figures of Hamlet and Nosferatu, two restless souls destined to solitude and to obsessive cycles of existential malaise – and a third: that of Richard Vogel.

The ideal way to experience the work of Richard Vogel is to not know anything about it in advance. This text would thus be obsolete before it has even begun. Vogel would most likely have been pleased with that.

Richard Vogel lived in an apartment in Kristianstad. He made videos by taping moments that caught his eye directly from T.V. He collected cameras and printed slogans on washed out t-shirts. He also attempted an adaptation of Hamlet and the expressionist vampire film Nosferatu and taped his neighbours from the windows. Because of an illness he didn’t go outside much in his later years.

It doesn’t make much sense to speak of the work of Richard Vogel. Whichever way you approach it and excavate your own phantom portrait of the man and mind behind the monumental maze of images, sounds and objects he left behind – countless hours (days, weeks) of footage – this is nothing in the artistic sense of an oeuvre. It’s too … endless.

An infinity haunted by an almost aggressive absence of meaning and purpose. And by an aggressive presence of stuff. Plastic bags, styrofoam, video tapes. All the things we have produced and which now surround us.

Surrounded. Remote control. Control tower. Kristianstad, Sweden.

Vogel was an obsessively productive anti-artist and a documentarian of the invisible and obsolete margins of the welfare state. With Joseph Cornell, Bruce Conner, Isidore Isou, Guy Debord and Jeff Keen as possible predecessors, you could claim on behalf of Vogel to have been un des plus grands anti-cinéastes de tous les temps! The rage, the determination, the madness and melancholy of the solitary outsider…

But then, we can never be sure what really went on in the mind of the silhouette that looms around between cardboard boxes containing a life’s work in the labyrinth of his apartment in Nosferatu. Who are you? Can you hear us?

John Skoog’s posthumous exploration of Vogel’s personal archives – as well as their collaboration on Nosferatu and the friendship between them – is unfolded in hamletnosferatu, an exhibition that attempts less to map out the obscure, infinite and deeply personal world of Richard Vogel, but rather to document its singularity on its own terms.

With the VHS tape as the objet trouvé of an era just passed, the exhibition presents Vogel’s iconoclastic video adaptation of Hamlet and Skoog’s & Vogel’s collaboration Nosferatu as installations, supplemented by a selection of the t-shirts printed by Vogel as well as a slideshow by John & David Skoog in which Vogel’s collection of 433 photographic cameras – dating from around 1900 to the present – have been used to photograph each other in the order of their serial numbers, thus allowing the collection to document itself. A book with all these photographs will also be released during the exhibition period.

At the end of the exhibition the gallery will host a finissage together with Filmögon. The evening will start at the Panora Cinema where there will be a screening of a selection of Vogel’s videos. Afterwards there will be a release of both a Filmögon dossier on Vogel’s work and a the afore mentioned book by John & David Skoog published by Dager Förlag.

–Mads Mikkelsen

John Skoog (born 1985 in Malmö, lives and works in Copenhagen) studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. He was awarded the Baloise Art Prize in 2014 and the Ars-Viva prize in 2013. His films have also won several prizes at filmfestivals in Sweden and abroad, most recently the Startsladden award at Gothenburg Film Festival. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Mad Horizon, Index Contemporary Art Foundation (2016), Stockholm, Värn, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK, 2015), Slow Return, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2015), Shadowland, Pilar Corrias, London (2015) and Berlin International Film Festival (2015).

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John Skoog, Nosferatu (El Capitan Canyon, US 101), 2016, Pigmentprint on Hanemühle Baryta Photorag, 47 x 34,5 cm; framed, Edition 1+1 AP

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John Skoog, Nosferatu, 2016, VHS, Stereo, Duration 31 min, Edition: 5 + 2 AP; 1/5

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John Skoog, Nosferatu, 2016, VHS, Stereo, Duration 31 min, Edition: 5 + 2 AP; 1/5

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John Skoog, Nosferatu, 2016, VHS, Stereo, Duration 31 min, Edition: 5 + 2 AP; 1/5

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John Skoog, Untitled, 2016, USB-Hubs, gadegts & extensions from Richard Vogel’s apartment., Dimensions variable; as installed 320 x 20 x 142 cm

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John Skoog, Untitled, 2016, USB-Hubs, gadegts & extensions from Richard Vogel’s apartment., Dimensions variable; as installed 320 x 20 x 142 cm

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John Skoog, Two Rooms, 2016 (in collaboration with David Skoog), 431 Slides, Dimensions variable, Edition 1 + 1 AP

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John Skoog, Two Rooms, 2016 (in collaboration with David Skoog), 431 Slides, Dimensions variable, Edition 1 + 1 AP

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John Skoog, Two Rooms, 2016 (in collaboration with David Skoog), 431 Slides, Dimensions variable, Edition 1 + 1 AP

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John Skoog, Two Rooms, 2016 (in collaboration with David Skoog), 431 Slides, Dimensions variable, Edition 1 + 1 AP

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John Skoog, Two Rooms, 2016 (in collaboration with David Skoog), 431 Slides, Dimensions variable, Edition 1 + 1 AP

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Richard Vogel, Tingeling, 1995, Silkscreen on fabric, Dimensions variable

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Richard Vogel, INTE. Mer., Silkscreen on fabric, Dimensions variable

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Richard Vogel, ingenting, Silkscreen on fabric, Dimensions variable

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Richard Vogel, (Korv), Silkscreen on fabric, Dimensions variable

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Richard Vogel, Det ska inte vara så här, Silkscreen on fabric, Dimensions variable

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Richard Vogel, Untitled (Kanin), 1996, Pigmentprint on Hanemühle Baryta Photorag, 17 x 32,5 cm, Edition 1+1 AP

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