Johanna Billing, I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die: Kavi Gupta | 835 W. Washington Blvd. Chicago, IL, 60607
Johanna Billing (b. 1973 in Jönköping, SE) lives and works in Stockholm, SE. Working in video and performance, Billing has become renowned for her participatory or collaborative works that make transparent the complexities of human intersubjectivity. Billing’s projects over the last decade have often focussed on musicians, dancers, and sometimes children – individuals whose play and craft almost always requires the negotiation of individual expression vis-à-vis collective output. Rather than emphasizing the final performance or idealized presentation of a work, Billing’s projects often underscore the importance of process, spontaneity, and the experience of creating as a whole.
One of the projects that initially brought Billing international attention was her film project and live tour “You Don’t Love Me Yet” (2002-2010) takes as its premise the collaborative recreation of a rock ballad of the same title by American singer-songwriter Roky Erickson, an artist whose career has been riddled with isolation, alienation, and delusion. Touring through multiple venues, Billing’s project often incorporated well over a dozen musicians and singers who would perform the song ad infinitum, each time reinterpretating its melody to reflect the style and approach of a particular musician/participant. The resulting work, considered either as document or event, brings to the fore how we understand vulnerability, fulfillment, and commitment in our interpersonal relationships.
In Billing’s 2008/9 work “I’m Lost Without Your Rhythm”, created for the Periferic 8 Biennal Of Contemporary Art in Iasi, Romania, the artist engaged Romanian dancers and acting students to work with highly regarded Swedish choreographer Anna Vnuk over a period of several days in order to explore not only the limits of contemporary choreography, but also to discover what the discipline can tell us about how we relate to each other and various forms of organization within a society. The collected footage was paired with music from the experimental Swedish band Wildbirds & Peacedrums and reedited in a form of video choreography.
The artist’s most recent work “I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die” (2012) was shot in Rome and comissioned by the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin and MAC Belfast to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. The film – an amalgamation of documentary and narrative fiction – centers on five children and their day traveling through a number of locales in the city. With a subtle critique of Italy’s recent education reforms, Billing’s film is a nod to experimental forms of pedagogy and discursive thought.
Billing’s work has been exhibited throughout the world in various group and solo exhibitions. Some of the artist’s most prestigious exhibitions include documenta 12 (2007) in Kassel, DE, “Dialectics Of Hope” (2005) at the Moscow Biennale, the 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005), and “Delays and Revolutions” (2003) at the 50th Venice Biennale. Billing’s work is included in a number of presitigious public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, US, Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, CH, and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, NL. In addition, Billing’s projects have be the subject of much critical acclaim with feature articles and reviews in several international publications such as Art Monthly, Frieze, Flash Art, and The New York Times. Billing’s work is represented by Kavi Gupta in Chicago and Berlin, Hollybush Gardens in London, Crystal in Stockholm, and Standard in Oslo.