4.9 — 10.10.1999
ars viva 99/00 – Grenzgänge
artist(s): John Bock, Christian Flamm, Korpys/Löffler, Johannes Spehr
After examining many artists' dossiers, visiting studios and leading long discussions, the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. has decided to play the experimental card again and to support young, in Germany living artists like John Bock, Christian Flamm, Korpys/Löffler and Johannes Spehr to participate this year's edition of ars viva 99/00 - Grenzgänge [Border Crossings]. The exhibition is first shown at Casino Luxembourg, then at the Kunstverein Freiburg im Marienbad and finally at the Kunsthaus Dresden - Städtische Galerie für Gegenwartskunst.
These artists are definitely "border crossers" - even though the word is open enough to connect a number of things together. In any case their works defy restriction to traditional categories like painting and sculpture or even newer media like video and installation. Indeed, they use all the means at their disposal to realise their artistic vision. But the boundaries between art and other areas, like for example theatre, music, television and cinema, economics, politics and sociology, are also more or less heavily blurred here. Art does not lose all its borders, but it does still offer a possible point of contact for associative thinking and imagination that threatens to disappear in many other fields.
John Bock works with scenic arrangements consisting of stage-like sculptures that are intended to look as though they have been cobbled together from fabric and scrap, plastic parts and absurdly alienated everyday props, and then stages half-theatrical, half-improvised performances. The artist, who lives in Berlin, uses a monologue-style endless diatribe in his often acrobatic appearances, mixing thematic fragments from the world of economics and science with reflections about the nature of art and everyday observations to create a fascinating feat of concentrated effort that is close to dada, centred on the question of the relationship between life and art, society and the individual.
Christian Flamm also effortlessly undermines unduly restrictively fixed genres. His pictures and arrangements, for example, cut and pasted from coloured paper, oscillate between large-scale sculptural quality and a sense of two dimensions. They convince because of their high sign density, whose background involves precise research into social matters, media questions (for example the relationship between digital and analogue, mechanically developed pictorial worlds) and the placing of art in a context.
The link between criminal and criminological methods, questions about deed, culprit and victim, according to observation and detective analysis, which conjures coherent patterns out of fragmentary signs, and the transfer of these elements into the realm of artistic work are at the heart of the ideas of the artist-duo Korpys/Löffler. They place their multi-media examinations of "bad images", fictitious bank robberies, terrorist activities and the New York World Trade Center somewhere between documentary seriousness and ironically exaggerated absurdity, and in doing so are cleverly on their guard against commitment in terms of form or content.
Johannes Spehr is on the trail of the absurdity of everyday things and of our middle-class world. In his super-accurate water colours, meticulously painted in pastel shades, we meet a world in which clearly everything is out of joint, even though the arrangements look almost obsessively ordered at first sight. The artist, who additionally reinforces the effect of the interiors indicated on the pictures by placing them in a framework of full-scale, cardboard architecture into which it is possible to walk, is aiming to uncouple sign and that which is signified. His dysfunctional worlds, in which any communication - seen conventionally - fails, also open our eyes to crazy mechanics and the controls to which our social life is subject.
The projects will be realised specially for this exhibition.
The annual meeting of the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. takes place in Trier and in Luxembourg on 2 and 3 October 1999. The awards of the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft to the artists are handed out on Saturday 2 October 1999.
In collaboration with Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V.
Christian Flamm, Sans Titre (faux billets de banque), 1999. © Christian Mosar.