In culo alla balena!   [“Into the ass of a whale!” ]  (2012)

  • Adam Chodzko / In culo alla balena!          (2012)
  • In culo alla balena!   [“Into the ass of a whale!” ]  (2012)

    Advertisement placed by Chodzko in Kalea, the local newspaper for Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba, Spain, in both Spanish and Basque, during the exhibition In the Belly of the Whale (Act III), 2nd March – 10th June, 2012.

    The advertisement translates into English as:

    “Into the ass of a whale!”
    Needed. People to whistle to themselves briefly, ‘naturally’ and ‘nonchalantly’ upon entering the Monterhermoso gallery space, during the exhibition, In the Belly of the Whale (Act III), at any time during 11.00-14.00 and 17.00-21.00, 2nd March – 10th June

    The request and instruction is accompanied by the term “In culo alla balena!” (“Into the ass of a whale!”).  Its idiomatic equivalent in English is “break a leg” , theatrical slang meaning ‘good luck’, reflecting a theatrical superstition in which directly wishing a person “good luck” would be considered bad luck.  The typical reply to in culo alla balena is speriamo che non caghi! (literally “let’s hope it doesn’t shit!”).   For this group exhibition, based around Orson Welles’ theatrical adaptation of Moby Dick*, the notion of a whale, a ship and a stage are all explored.  For the visitor to casually whistle for good luck upon entering the exhibition space, as Chodzko’s advertisement requests, is at odds with the often overlapping superstitions for stage and ship; whistling is considered bad luck in both contexts.   This is probably because people working in both spaces required a system of clear whistle signals in order to some kind of transformation of the spaces; the lowering of a sail, the moving of stage scenery, for example.  Casual whistling could be dangerous!
    In culo alla balena!  continues Chodzko’s use of newspaper advertisements as signals sent out to an audience to encounter by chance, beyond the artworld (eg; Transmitters   (1991 – ),  We love you here, even though you are there (2012) etc) but particularly in relation to ideas of performance (eg: Reunion: Salo  (1998)).

    Coincidentally, Chodzko’s father, an actor with the stage name Joseph Chelton, had appeared in Moby Dick -Rehearsed (1955) the original Orson Welles’ theatrical adaptation of Moby Dick.

    In culo alla balena!   [“Into the ass of a whale!” ]  (2012) was exhibited alongside Props. For memorising the gravity of mime objects (2011),  New Wing.   A Rehearsal for a Faulty Projector (2011), Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire    (1999-), and Play, Play, Play (2011) in:

    In the Belly of the Whale (Act III):
    curated by Ariella Yedgar and Rosie Cooper.
    (works by Jesse Ash and Cally Spooner / Edwina Ashton / Adam Chodzko / Côme Ciment / Winnie Cott / Jess Flood-Paddock/ Anthea Hamilton / Donna Huddleston / Germaine Kruip / Jacopo Miliani).  And featuring Orson Welles: The One Man Band, by Vassili Silovic and Oja Kodar
    Montehermeso, Fray Zacarías Martínez, 201001 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba, Spain

    Related works:

    Product Recall     (1994)
    Props. For memorising the gravity of mime objects. (Flood)   (2013) & Props. For memorising the gravity of mime objects. (Fire)      (2013)  
    Runners  (2013)
    The God Look-Alike Contest (1991-1992)
    Transmitters    (1991 – )
    Nightvision    (1998)