Program Type: 
Joachim Koester: HOWE
November 15, 2013 - February 23, 2014
Upstairs Galleries


Artworks shown on this page:

Joachim Koester, Of Spirits and Empty Spaces, 2012 and HOWE, 2013 (Stills)

Joachim Koester: HOWE
Nov 15, 2013–Feb 23, 2014
Upstairs Galleries

Danish artist Joachim Koester is preoccupied with the unknown, the unseen, and the forgotten. Working primarily in photography, video, text, and installation, he weaves documentary material of historical events with a fictional narrative of his own devising. Koester’s installations usually begin with an investigation of an obscure historical figure or fact, often linked to the outer fringes of culture, such as occult and otherworldly phenomena. This information then becomes the starting point for a story that phases in and out throughout the course of the exhibition.

For his exhibition at YBCA, Koester will show his 16mm film Of Spirits and Empty Spaces (2012) about the American spiritualist and activist John Murray Spear who, along with his congregates at the settlement The Domain in rural Upstate New York in 1861, sought the designs for a new sewing machine through trance and movement. At the time, Elias Howe had already developed a sewing machine with several strong patents, which Spear and his group intended to circumvent in order to create a new and cheaper machine that would be accessible to ordinary people. Alongside this work, Koester will debut a new film, HOWE (2013), commissioned by YBCA and the Kadist Art Foundation featuring Elias Howe’s sewing machine.

This exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Kadist Art Foundation, an organization that encourages the contribution of the arts to society, collecting and producing contemporary artworks and conducting programs to promote the artist's role as cultural agent. Kadist's collections reflect the global scope of contemporary art, and its programs develop collaborations between Kadist's local contexts (Paris, San Francisco) and artists, curators, and art institutions worldwide.

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  • Joachim Koester: Tarantism
    Oct 9, 2013 5:30pm
    Headlands Center for the Arts, Building 944
    Dinner: $25/YBCA Members: $20; Conversation: FREE

    Denmark and New York-based artist Joachim Koester (AIR ’13) presents Tarantism, a film installation in which performers enact the “dancing cure”—an Italian folk method of curing a tarantula bite. Emerging during the Middle Ages, the phenomenon of convulsive, knee-shaking, teeth-grinding dancing was widespread in Italy until the mid-20th century. Koester’s work uses the reenactment of the ritual to explore the unconscious and unexplored abilities of the body. Experience a rare viewing of the installation and conversation with the artist; preceded by an Italian-inspired dinner in the Mess Hall.

    Co-presented with the Kadist Art Foundation and the Headlands Center for the Arts.

  • Exhibition Dates
    November 15, 2013 – February 23, 2014
    Upstairs Galleries

  • Opening Reception
    Nov 15, 2013 6:00pm – 8:00pm
    Upstairs Galleries/Youth Arts Lounge
    FREE with gallery admission

  • Silent as Spirit: Joachim Koester
    Nov 20, 2013 6:00pm
    Nov 23, 2013 12:00pm – 5:00pm
    Nov 24, 2013 12:00pm – 5:00pm
    Kadist Art Foundation, 3295 20th Street (at Folsom)
    Free and open to the public

    In conjunction with the exhibition, this program at Kadist SF is organized by Joachim Koester in conversation with Robin Selk, Michael Loncaric, Michelle M. Helene, and Dylan Godwin. The program is accompanied by the publication Silent as Spirit and a collaborative installation—expanding upon the works presented at YBCA.

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Artist Bio

Joachim Koester was born in 1962 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art. Koester has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide including at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City; The Power Plant, Toronto; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Extra City, Antwerp; Lund Kunsthall, Lund, Sweden; and Kunst-Werke, Berlin. His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Altermodern, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London (2009) Gwangju Biennale (1995), Manifesta 7 (2008) and Documenta X, Kassel (1997). Koester represented the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2005. His work is included in various public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York), S.M.A.K (Ghent), The National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen), and Moderna Museet (Stockholm).

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.