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James Loks

20141121125017-p78372_10 Why I think Jonathan Jones' Art Criticism is Tyrannical   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/21/14

Jonathan Jones writes an art blog for the Guardian newspaper. I read his column with the same morbid fascination I used to reserve for those times when I’d come across a piece by Julie Burchill. Which is to say I begin with the nascent thrill of knowing my pique is going to be stimulated, followed by a good bit of private outrage, and finally a satisfying wallow in indignation. None of these are particularly attractive human characteristics; they are, however, pleasurable and best practiced either... [more]

20141119141035-numen__1_ Is Immersive Art Too Easy? On "Getting It" and Having Fun   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/19/14

I was in a conversation with the curator Lucia Schreyer the other day. We were discussing the latest exhibition at Palais de Tokyo; we have differing opinions about it. I enjoyed the show very much. Once again it seemed as though the PdT had curated an exciting, interactive exhibition, fully using the space they have available and successfully iterating the concept of "Inside." Lucia didn’t like it so much. Her complaint was that it is too spectacular, like "a Luna Parc" for adults, and to b... [more]

20141114203355-pierre_cardin_5 Pierre Cardin Museum Opens in Paris: A First Look   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 11/14/14

You know, call me a sucker, and tell me that I should be over these kinds of petit exercises in social one-upmanship, but I do still get a little frisson of excitement when I’m rolling around Paris with an "exclusive" invitation in my pocket. It's one of the perks of the dirty job of criticism/journalism/whatever it is you want to call what I do. The folly of such an attitude was aptly displayed last night when, after a day of only mild bragging, I arrived at the "cocktail" for the opening... [more]

20141023122002-patti_smith_performing_in_finland__2007 Why Patti Loves Paris and Paris Loves Patti   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/23/14

Patti loves Paris and Paris loves Patti, and the question that I’d ask is why? Now right at the beginning, up front, I need to make a few things clear. First, let me state that this relates to our FIAC coverage because Patti is performing at the most sought after, and possibly the only gig to feature as part of the FIAC programme. It's a reunion with John Cale, on Thursday night, at Fondation Cartier. Since this hardly seems sufficient to qualify my bold assertion I’ll also add th... [more]

20141023110153-tree What Does Paris' Deflated Butt Plug Say About Art?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at FIAC October 23rd - October 26th
Posted 10/23/14

Is it possible that there is someone out there, in the admittedly rather narrow demographic of folk who read this and other art related material, who hasn’t heard of Paul McCarthy’s forceful insertion of a thirty foot high inflatable replica Butt Plug into one of Paris’ most desirable addresses? And yes, in case you were wondering, there is a fair chance that this puerile level of double entendre will continue throughout. If nothing else it gives me, the humble writer, a chance... [more]

20140921181645-98874124_o Niki de Saint Phalle: Are her Nanas Too Sexy?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Niki de Saint Phalle at Grand Palais September 17th - February 2nd, 2015
Posted 9/21/14

It really is a crying shame that Niki de Saint Phalle wasn’t crooked of back, thick of brow, dull eyed with pustulant skin, lank hair, an uneven gait, and a voice that sounded like a hoarse crow hacking its lungs up. At a push I’d even settle for poor and dull witted, but she wasn’t; she was pretty and rich and aristocratic. Now, there is nothing wrong with this—she wasn’t the first and she won’t be the last artist to come from this milieu—but there is a... [more]

20140828081538-photo_2_-_1986-paris_4199 Simple Pleasures   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Daniel Buren at Palais Royal August 1st, 1986 - December 31st, 2024
Posted 8/28/14

Given that we are in the zombie month of August when most galleries are closed, your faithful correspondent decided that it was time to go and check out some permanent public art: Daniel Buren’s 1986 installation Les Deux Plateau, apparently more commonly known as Colonnes de Buren. I’m assuming that for such a worldly audience as ArtSlant’s, these titles need no translation. But what is it? Well, it’s a grid of 260 candy-stripped columns, in a grid of candy-stripped lines in... [more]

20140708121829-file1 Getting It   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Colin Snapp at Galerie Allen June 27th - July 27th
Posted 7/7/14

Galerie Allen is a run by the Australian team of independent curator Joseph Allen Shea and artist Mel O'Callaghan, and is situated just west of Gare du Nord, in the tentatively gentrifying ninth arrondissement. These things are a departure from standard Paris format; they’ve eschewed the Marais, the (admittedly awful) left bank, and the more obvious cluster of new galleries centered in Belleville. Plus, there’s the involvement of an artist. The space itself is also something of a hyb... [more]

20140519064350-hirschhorn8 Watch DVDs, Eat Hot Dogs, and Swing on Tires   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Thomas Hirschhorn at Palais de Tokyo April 24th - June 23rd
Posted 5/19/14

To enter this exhibition is to descend into an anarchic post-apocalyptic maze where mankind has come to rely on parcel tape as never before and small children run around like fuzzy static magnets for polystyrene debris. Yes, we are entering the world of Thomas Hirschhorn on a quite unprecedented scale, and as ever the Swiss artist presents us with an immersive vision. This is an exhibition where you can spend time, and after contemplating disruptions in doxical praxis you can watch DVDs, eat ho... [more]

20140421080747-rm4 Mapplethorpe: Very Eighties   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Robert Mapplethorpe at Grand Palais March 26th - July 13th
Posted 4/21/14

At a certain point as I was walking around the Mapplethorpe exhibition I thought, “You know something? I really don’t like Robert Mapplethorpe.” This was during the first half of the show where most of the work was in his "nude portraiture" mode. I mean, I can appreciate the formality of it all—the lines and triangles, neat, original compositions, the sculptural references. But there’s just something in the gelatin-silver-shininess of it; it all seems too slick,... [more]

20140312061209-sheila_hicks Into The Fold   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Tauba Auerbach, davide balula, Alain Biltereyst, Tom Burr, César, John Chamberlain, William Daniels, Simon Hantai, Sheila Hicks, Olaf Holzapfel, Sol LeWitt, Piero Manzoni, Steven Parrino, Jack Pierson, Diogo Pimentão, Charlotte Posenenske, Robert Rauschenberg, Blake Rayne, Anselm Reyle, Dorothea Rockburne, Rudolf Stingel, Tatiana Trouvé, Daniel Turner, Rachel Whiteread at Gagosian - Paris February 28th - April 19th
Posted 3/12/14

I don’t know if anyone else has seen the YouTube animation that explains the ten dimensions of the physical world, as predicted by the theoretical framework of M- or String theory. It’s quite confusing. However, one of the ideas it introduces is that at certain points the shift from one dimension to the next is achieved by folding that dimension through into the next (in similar fashion to how one would fold a piece of paper into a Mobius strip). This is the process that allows a bei... [more]

Figure + Landscape: An Interview with Elina Brotherus  
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2/16/14

Helsinki / Paris, Feb. 2014: It's quite strange meeting someone for the first time via Skype; I think it's something to do with the intimacy of being suddenly projected into a stranger's kitchen and they into your living room. This was how I met Elina Brotherus: we sat in Paris/Helsinki and shared a cup of tea. My intention was obviously for this to be an interview, however it seems like a conversation broke out, the outcome of which being that the questions aren't particularly well phrased. I'm sur... [more]

20140121182108-ac_jamie_reid_affiche_god_save_the_queen_1977_-__sex_pistols_residuals Punk is Dead (again)   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Cité de la musique October 15th, 2013 - January 19th
Posted 1/21/14

"Yes that's right punk is dead, it's just another cheap product for the consumer’s head Bubble gum rock on plastic transistors, school boy sedition backed by big time promoters" So sang Crass in their 1978 track Punk is Dead... And the big time promoter in this instance is the French state via Cité de la Musique, where, from a certain perspective, Punk suffers the final ignominy of transferring from cultural reference or product for sale to vitrine protected cultural artefact to be pe... [more]

20131217170453-dan_beudean_sir_richard_francis_burton Where are we?: Cognitive Dissonance at the LV Espace Culturel   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Ioana Bătrânu, DAN BEUDEAN, Geta Bratescu, Oana Farcas, Adrian Ghenie, Ion Grigorescu, Simon Cantemir Hausì, Mihut Boscu Kafchin, Ciprian Muresan, Serban Savu, Mircea Suciu, SERGIU TOMA, Bogdan Vladuta at LV Espace Culturel October 11th, 2013 - January 12th
Posted 12/17/13

You know if you asked me honestly why I went to the LV cultural space I hope I'd be honest enough to tell you something about a certain sardonic sensation, and the presentiment that somewhere in the whole experience I'd find some kind of grist for the mill of this review. Just something about the gallery that sits above what I believe – and I may well be wrong – is the most profitable store in Paris, if not the world. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have heard that the LV store on C... [more]

20131210073645-ecal-romain-hu_gli What Do Kim and Kanye Have to Do with the New Photography Aesthetic?   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Jeremy Ayer, Emile Barret, Olga Cafiero, Alexia Cayre, Philippe Fragnière, Nicolas Haeni, Romain Hügli, Romain Mader, Tiphanie Mall, Douglas Mandry, Cyril Porchet, Jimmy Rachez, Maya Rochat, Priscillia Saada, Tristan Savoy, Jean-Vincent Simonet, Armand Yerly at Galerie Azzedine Alaïa November 15th, 2013 - December 15th, 2013
Posted 12/10/13

I'm a bit late on the whole Kanye craziness, but have, after a couple of hours of jaw dropping internet research, finally arrived in apocalypto ego-mania land. Wow. It is a special place to be. It's like there's the purest form of intoxication in what he's saying and in a sense at a certain point his inner sense of being a god-ness almost becomes logical, like it's the pinnacle of self enactment, and like the next-big-thing motivational seminars. The interesting thing though, besides the wonder a... [more]

20131119045357-jun-ahn-self-portrait-2011 Auto Interview: Paris Photo 2013   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Grand Palais November 14th, 2013 - November 17th, 2013
Posted 11/19/13

James Loks is a Paris-based staff writer for ArtSlant. On the occasion of Paris Photo he thought it would be worth taking the time to ask himself some questions concerning the nature of art fairs, photography, and lack of real world Lynchian characters. Initial impressions of Paris Photo? Very cold. If you post on the website that press registration begins at two pm, it's a really good idea not to then decide that it starts at five. The ensuing confrontation between a bunch of disgruntled journa... [more]

20131023003645-peresprojects Berlin vs. Paris: We Ask The Galleries   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at FIAC October 24th, 2013 - October 27th, 2013
Posted 10/23/13

Over the past fifteen years Berlin has carved itself a niche as the most vibrant artistic city in Europe, a place to find both galleries and working artists of all ilk. It has become synonymous with the type of creative energy that seems to push forward, always seeking new boundaries and forms. As such it makes an interesting contrast with Paris, a city that has previously taken this role but is now perhaps too stable, too comfortable, and maybe too expensive, to compete. In a way, within this context,... [more]

20131022123637-1 Prix Marcel Duchamp: Favourites and Outsiders   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Farah Atassi, Latifa Echakhch, Claire Fontaine, Raphaël Zarka at FIAC October 26th, 2013 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Posted 10/22/13

As a corollary to FIAC the Prix Marcel Duchamp has had some pretty impressive winners in its time and is, as with all of these types of prizes, a great way for an artist to get some recognition, funding and actual cash. Not as old as the Swiss Art Awards, as prestigious as a Gold or Silver Lion, or as lucrative as some of the big private awards, it is still sufficient to spur on the career of any artist, not least in that it comes with a well funded exhibition at the Pompidou, and allows you to jo... [more]

Saying What You See, Knowing What You See: An Interview with Marianne Paul-Boncour  
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10/21/13

Paris, Oct. 2013: On the eve of FIAC I managed to catch Marianne Paul-Boncour for a chat in what was probably the loudest workers cafe in eastern Paris. We struggled to be heard over the radio, the rattling of cups and glasses and the shrillest of barmaids, while simultaneously squinting into a setting sun. Despite these challenges we managed to talk about painting, New York City, France and FIAC. James Loks: Can you describe your work in brief? Marianne Paul-Boncour: I always come at things from two directions, but I'm working on a... [more]

20130903181920-ev06 Digital Disappointment   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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GRÉGORY CHATONSKY, DuroSport Electronics, Benjamin Gaulon aka Recyclism, Jonathan Puckey (Moniker), Do it yourself book scanner (Daniel Reetz), Julian Oliver et Danja Vasiliev at Jeu de Paume October 23rd, 2012 - March 11th
Posted 9/3/13

I guess the title kind of gives it away? But you know, you've got to have expectations to be disappointed and here's the problem: when you put together the two words 'online' and 'exhibition' you can imagine wandering through this vast and surprising digital world where new and previously unimagined forms of artistic stimulation are assailing your senses from every quarter; or you can see the two antithetical things, an exhibition being that immersive, fully realised, interactive, texturally correlat... [more]

20130813125658-30922_1335823318_382_30922 Proximity to Tourists: 59 Rivoli   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 8/13/13

59 Rivoli- Squart Collective[1]59 Rue de RivoliParisOngoing Number 59 Rivoli was abandoned for fifteen years before it was squatted by a group of artists in 1999. After a couple of years of wrangling and campaigning the building was bought by the municipal government of Paris[2], renovated to make it safe, and passed over to the collective, who had now formalised their existence under the name '59 Rivoli'. I visited it as it seems to be an example of the kind of progressive attitude to suppo... [more]

20130729214836-bertstern_marilynmonroe_pearlmouth No Temple BS   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Bert Stern at La Galerie de l'Instant July 11th, 2013 - September 25th, 2013
Posted 7/23/13

This is a terrible show and I loved it. By any of the criteria by which most of the galleries I normally visit judge themselves it was, what, I don't know what to say, a joke? A disaster? A farce? As appears to be my normal approach I'm going to talk about two things, the gallery first, then I'll get on to the artist… The gallery was a mess! There was Bert Stern's work on the walls, with one or two other random photos thrown in, as well as lots of other pictures from other photographe... [more]

20130709081203-schabahzi_shirana__komposition-46-2012_ A very very big show in a relatively small room   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Lewis Baltz, Uta Barth, Lothar Baumgarten, Walead Beshty, Lucas Blalock, Mark Borthwick, Josh Brand, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Talia Chetrit, Anne Collier, Sarah Conaway, Luc Delahaye, Thomas Demand, Liz Deschenes, Rineke Dijkstra, Saul Fletcher, Lee Friedlander, Amy Granat, John Houck, Barbara Kasten, Annette Kelm, Josh Kolbo, Luisa Lambri, Elad Lassry, Leigh Ledare, Tim Lee, Jochen Lempert, Hanna Liden, Armin Linke, Sharon Lockhart, Jean-Luc Moulène, Catherine Opie, Eileen Quinlain, Alison Rossiter, Melanie Schiff, Collier Schorr, Bruno Serralongue, Shirana Shahbazi, Erin Shirreff, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, James Welling, Chris Wiley at Galerie Marian Goodman - Paris June 28th, 2013 - August 2nd, 2013
Posted 7/9/13

I've become increasingly aware of how people find negative reviews so much more entertaining than positive reviews, and so I'm about to let everyone down. This is a really great show, and an unusual one, and interesting for lots of different reasons; but really one main one. It's also worth saying that the title/name of the exhibition really is fitting for the experience of seeing the show. The big main thing to say is it's a curated show, although Jens Hoffmann prefers the tag 'exhibition maker' t... [more]

20130507172520-slavs_and_tartars_-_the_assistants Frieze New York: Literature and Art Fairs   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Lydia Davis at Frieze New York May 11th, 2013 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Posted 5/7/13

The art fair as cultural event is pretty well established now. It makes sense to use the pretext of the weird art supermarket that forms the body of the fair as an excuse for a wider programme; it adds interest and tempers the slightly distasteful frenzy that makes it so difficult to actually see the art everyone's here for. As part of this year's Frieze New York we have the opportunity to attend a reading and Q&A session with Lydia Davis. For those of you who aren't familiar with her, as well as b... [more]

20130502154101-0745 It's in a gallery but you can't have everything   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Joan Jonas at Galerie Yvon Lambert April 27th, 2013 - May 30th, 2013
Posted 5/2/13

Similarity and difference seems to be the theme of the current exhibition at Yvon Lambert. In one room we have Joan Jonas, presenting a video installation Reanimation II, a reworking of a piece originally shown at dOCUMENTA (13), and in the other we have a wall piece by Lawrence Weiner. The similarities are that both artists are very well respected (although Jonas isn't celebrated quite as much as Weiner), both came to prominence in the sixties and have something like a forty-year body of work, b... [more]

20130417103108-image Tumbling Blocks / Stumbling Blocks   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Victor Costales, Julia Rometti at Jousse Enterprise-Saint Claude April 6th, 2013 - May 18th, 2013
Posted 4/17/13

As is my way, I didn't do any research on Julia Rometti and Victor Costales before I went to see the show. I knew that they'd won a prize at the last edition of ARCO Madrid (the illy SustainArt prize) and I knew they were young and pretty successful. That was it. I'm also a fan of Jousse Entreprise as a gallery; they're definitely one of the most interesting smaller galleries in Paris and they represent a few artists of whom I'm a fan (Superflex, Matthew Derbyshire, and Philippe Meste if you wa... [more]

20130228074855-2177-19 Hypnosis   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Julio Le Parc at Palais de Tokyo February 25th, 2013 - May 13th, 2013
Posted 2/28/13

There's part of this job that involves trying to use words to conjure the experience of an artwork or an exhibition for the reader. From the second I entered this show I realised that with the work of Julio le Parc – no chance. There's no way that I can tell you even a fraction of what the experience of being in this show is like. Not least because just finding your way through the first immersive sculpture – a small fully mirrored room full of tightly packed full length hanging mirrors that are sl... [more]

20130128115249-chloe_tallot A Negative Review   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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CHLOE TALLOT at Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève January 10th, 2013 - February 9th, 2013
Posted 1/28/13

I really like Suzanne Tarasiève's Loft 19 space. Tucked away on a dead-end street behind Belleville it has the feel of a genuinely alternative art space, something different and away from the rest of the galleries. There's nothing like it in Paris. I always look forward to openings there as you get to see some good art and there's normally an interesting crowd and something nice to drink. This wasn't the case yesterday. ‘Forcément on pense au rouge’ by Chloé Tallot is based around a convers... [more]

20130124122501-120907_er_009 Ceci N'est Pas: An Interview with Aude Pariset   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Aude Pariset at Favorite Goods March 23rd, 2013 - April 27th, 2013
Posted 1/24/13

Aude Pariset isn't taking part in Art Los Angeles Contemporary, and most likely none of her work will be on display at any stall throughout it. She does however have a show at Favourite Goods gallery supported by Ceci N'est Pas. As an integral part of programming around ALAC this programme shows how an art fair isn't simply a commercially driven sharkfest but can also be a powerful driver of internationalism and offer the opportunity for young artists to both show their work and broaden their exp... [more]

20121220180823-laure_ A Night Out   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Alex Cecchetti, Laure Prouvost at Shanaynay December 3rd, 2012 - December 31st, 2012
Posted 12/17/12

In previous articles I've complained about certain aspects of the Parisian art scene, one of which being that it lacks the spark and energy of new things. It's difficult in a conservative country that holds fine art and culture so close to its sense of identity. Last night was fortuitous. The PRs all spoke about Miami. It was very cold and grey in Paris. There was nothing to catch the eye. I walked into Shanaynay to find, among other artworks, a bicycle upturned and surrounded by tools. I took... [more]

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