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Selected Work For Publications

Heavy Traffic Press is proud to announce its maiden release, Michael Baers Selected Work For Publications 2005 – 2010, a selection of Baers’ work for magazines, journals and other print initiatives over a six year period. Subjects ranging from the Danish left wing terrorist group, Blekingegadebandens, to strategies for surviving societal collapse in Bucharest are treated by Baers in his inimitable style, which mixes 60’s underground comic aesthetics with the structural and formal distanciation techniques of Jean-Luc Godard and Harun Farocki. The ten works in this collection have previously appeared in the e-flux journal, Fucking Good Art, and the now defunct Danish art journal, Sum Magazine for Samtidskunst, and includes the first appearance of Michael Baers in A Home for Lost Ideas, a work commissioned for the public initiative, A Home For Lost Ideas, but for reasons having nothing to do with the work’s quality, was eventually not included in that publication.

Michael Baers: Selected Work For Publications 2005 – 2010 is available for €15, including postage. Satisfaction guaranteed, but sorry, we can’t return your money. We will be happy to address your dissatisfaction in a series of kind e-mails.

“Selected Work For Publications 2005 - 2010”, comic, 104 pages, 2012 (Heavy Traffic Press)


Statement Regarding Current Work

Since the beginning of 2004, my practice has been mainly publication based. These works combine text and image (often, but not exclusively, using the comic-book form), becoming manifest in exhibition space in a sculptural way, with the publications-in-aggregate used as material to create a sculptural form/system of distribution. The exhibition space, then, has become for me not only a space of display, but also a space of dissemination, and within the spatial gestalt of art exhibition space, I am trying to exploit differences and similarities between the act of looking and the act of reading, just as I am exploiting differences and similarities between an instance of exhibition and one of dissemination. As a consequence, my work has progressively diverged from the strict image/text coupling of conventional comics, or with the page conceived of as a conventional platform for information. Such was the case with “Roadwork”, where I was simultaneously exploring the possibilities for using the publication as a kind of prefabricated art installation, creating an archive of iconography about the car as a figure of aggression, and producing a Mallarmé-inspired analysis of the relationship between journalism and the “Real” it purports to describe.

While I am dedicated to an experimental practice in which I explore the possible applications of commercial print media to art production (although I have recently begun producing installation-based work which do not employ print media, and further, have begun researching a project I hope to execute in film), a large part of my production remains engaged with the comic as a means to effect critical analysis of visual and ideological forms. I have found it helpful to think of this work as acting as a precursor to filmic production. Just as painting acted as a substrate to filmic syntax, so to the comic form anticipates the pictorial logic of filmic montage, and has been adopted by film in the form of the storyboard, acting as a kind of intermediate step between the singular static image and sequential pictoriality. Mimicking this historical process, I have included in the logic of my practice the possibility of going backwards and forwards between different media—the opposite of media specificity—where a work could be manifested at different points in the production process—from text to drawings to publication work, and then, to its adaptation in a time-based media—without being resolved within any one media.

Another aspect of my work has been producing works for magazines and journals. In some sense, these works mark a return to the concerns of my late twenties/early thirties when I worked as a freelance journalist. Thus, my works for publication are often investigative as well as discursive, and bare as much of a connection to the essay form as to pictorial narrative traditions (Haroun Farocki’s work in general and especially his articulation of the genre now known as “essay film” has been incredibly influential). Works for publication, while frequently addressed to a default art-world audience lacking specifity (although they are assumed to possess a certain level of education and linguistic competence) have also allowed me to manifest a degree of site-specificity in my work by addressing specific readerships. Such was the case with the work I produced while on residency in Christiania for its community newspaper, Ugspjellet, for whom I produced a weekly feuilleton over the course of two months, or my contribution to a Copenhagen edition of the Dutch artzine, Fucking Good Art, where my reaction to the at-that-time recent civil unrest was bifurcated into two different versions—one addressing a domestic audience, one an international audience.

In general, I am happy to operate along the fault-line separating genre production, such as those typologies by which we have organized the world of film production (and which also characterize comics), and avant garde works where such typologies are transmuted or obliterated. Although I am not tied to any one media or approach, the intentions elucidated above are never far away in my work.

“The Same Story the Crow Told Me (It’s the only one he knows)”, comic, 27 pages, (detail: page 8), 2007