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A series of seven one-night art exhibition/presentations with:
In the spring of 2012, Gitte Bohr. Club für Kunst und politisches Denken invited artists to send in a work to the exhibition series 1work/ 1room/ 1night/
Individualism and neoliberal agendas encourage artists to ignore the political and social dimension of being an artist in our society. Instead, the focus is on self-realisation and the artist's career.
A place for critique becomes harder to find. Since Andy Warhol's establishment of the artist as businessman, it has been argued that the role of art has undergone a paradigmatic change. Is it obsolete to invoke art's social functions?
The question is whether artists have a role or function in society, or if they merely are producers of luxurious consumer goods. While arts funding and the access to avant-garde culture is increasingly privatised, we find it important to address artists’ possibilities for critique. Critique in art is not only a direct political statement – it can be formal or socially engaged, aiming at aesthetic or societal transformation. With 1work/ 1room/ 1night/ we wish to open a discussion of these questions. We are looking forward to welcoming you and the invited artists to participate!
The first presentation in the series is dedicated to a work by the Finnish-Czech artist duo Kristofer Paetau and Ondrej Brody. They will exhibit a version of their work "Degenerate Art," in which they incorporate comments left by users on their website, responding to one of their photo works. The result is a selection of raving insults and abusive criticism presented as paintings. In this way, "criticism" becomes an integral part of the artwork. Paetau and Brody challenge on the one hand the participative pseudo-democracy of social media. And on the other hand, they show the dynamics with which a shit storm can change into public scorn.
The second chapter of the series will discuss the relationship between art and activism, especially the activism of culture workers breaking the taboo of and acting against precarity and underpayment in their field. On Wednesday, September 5, the two Greek artists Sofia Bempeza and Vana Kostayola will present a performance and talk about their project "Cultural Symptoms." With performance, activist interventions and a discussion forum in the form of a blog, they aim to draw attention to, and mobilise action around, the question of art workers precarious working conditions. Artists and cultural producers are often paid little or nothing for being granted the "opportunity" to show their work, they are toiling away as interns in order to "further their careers" - in short, they are symptoms of worsening precarious working conditions in society on the whole, a situation that is increasingly accepted as "normal."
The Spanish artist Raisa Maudit will present her on-going project "Culture of Suicide" in the form of an installation in Gitte Bohr's rooms in West Germany.
The project investigates the socio-economic context of the rising suicide rate, especially in southern Europe, at the time of the economic crisis. Suicide is mostly perceived as an exclusively private matter, and therefore its connection to the larger social and economic situation is often ignored. Not least in the light of late capitalism and the current crisis situation these interrelations become increasingly visible.
Work related suicide is a phenomenon that by now is quite well known. The Japanese have a word for it: karoshi. In Europe, an example is the wave of suicides among employees in the company France Telecom in 2008-9. In contemporary work structures, there is an increasing pressure on the individual to invest her person and conform to the work structures – not just physically, as was the case in industrial capitalism, but also mentally. These structures are not only present in some work places: they are seen society-wide in an increasing individualisation, economisation of all areas of life, and not least in an anomic work / life balance.
The normalizing forces of contemporary work ethics expand the boundaries of the sphere of work: the feeling of being inadequate can apply just as well to the demands of work as to unemployment. As ever, the work ethic of late capitalism provides the parameters for the judgment of the self. The “ghost of uselessness” (Sennett) lurks at the lower end of the career ladder, while at the upper end, the free fall in the form of crashes and bankruptcy threatens. Insecurity commands the stage, putting every one under its spell, whether working or not.
In Gitte Bohr, Raisa Maudit will present a sound installation, aiming to incite the public to write "suicide letters" that reflect on socio-economic pressures and expectations and their influence on their own lives. The archive of these (anonymised) letters will be used for public interventions, mailings to financial institutions, etc. Her aim with the art project is to inform about this often ignored and tabooed problem and incite reflection and action.
With the series 1work/ 1room/ 1night/, Gitte Bohr. Club für Kunst und politisches Denken launched, in spring this year, a call for applications for artists. Giving artists the opportunity to present an art piece in a small underground space and discussing it with an audience, we have already been able to establish encounters with invitees from Greece, Finland/Czech Republic and Spain.
On November 7, we are proud to present a one-night exhibition and an artist talk with Fokus Grupa (a.k.a. Iva Kovac & Elvis Krstulovic) from Zagreb, Croatia. FG is an artist collective, uniting different practices: art, design and curating, and applying these practices to an artistic strategy, that takes political shapes, without epitomizing a representational "political art." With the third wave of institutional critique, in which critique became an intra-institutional and undemocratic vindication, the interpretive and discursive dominance on art shifted from the artist and the independent art critic to the institutions. After this, FG reacts to the need for re-appropriating critique, curatorial and distributional practice. By using collaborative and interdisciplinary practices, and by reshaping institutional praxis in an autonomous way, FG concentrates on the varied relations between art and its (public) manifestations, in terms of working culture, aesthetics, and social and economic exchange values. Investigating the inherent power structures of the art-system and, to this effect, its economic, spatial and legal implementations, FG expand the boundaries of the artwork. In printed matter, slideshows, works on paper and not least in discussions, FG is going to revisit institutional critique, seen from different historical and geographical perspectives. In West Germany, they will present samples from the ongoing project called Art&Market; there is no art without consequences, which they started working on in 2009, and that has already been shown in a number of places, among them the Moscow Biennial 2010.
Für eine Reihe von Veranstaltungen, in der Künstlern an einem Abend die Gelegenheit gegeben werden soll, ein im weiteren Sinne politisches Werk, oder ein Werk, das mit politischen Diskussionen verknüpft ist, vorzustellen, hat Gitte Bohr. Club für Kunst und politisches Denken zu einem jurierten Wettbewerb ausgerufen. In der laufenden Reihe präsentieren wir am 21. November Johannes Lothar Schröder aus Hamburg.
Der Performancekünstler und Kunsthistoriker Johannes Lothar Schröder wird in einer Diskussion umreißen, wie kritische, konzeptuelle, performative und politische Gegenwartskunst, einem stetigen Kreislauf von Dissidenz und Kriminalisierung einerseits, sowie Institutionalisierung und (politischen) Rekuperationen andererseits, unterworfen ist.
Entgrenzte und kritische Werkbegriffe, so zeigt die Geschichte der Gegenwartskunst, werden demnach immer wieder, je nach geopolitischer und zeitgeschichtlicher Ausgangslage, gefördert, geduldet oder unterdrückt. Auch in Bezug auf Herkunft, Milieu und klassenspezifische Hierarchien entscheidet sich eine Integrierbarkeit, gar eine Existenz oder Tabuisierung von Kunstdiskursen. So entscheiden sich Urteile über Werke des abstrakten Expressionismus, einer immateriellen Kunst, eines kapitalistischen Realismus oder aber einer explizit politischen, dissidentischen Kunst.
Begleitend zur Diskussion dieser Thesen wird Johannes Lothar Schröder Beispiele aus seiner Mappe mit einer Sammlung von Pamphleten, Polemiken, kommentierten Ausrissen und beklebten Aktionärsberichten und Prospekten vorstellen.
Johannes Lothar Schröder, geb. am Tag nach Stalins Tod, Kunstausbildung 1969-71, erste Ausstellung 1973, Studium der Kunstgeschichte, klass. Archäologie und Literaturwiss. 1976-1982, Promotion zum Dr. phil. mit einer Arbeit über Happenings, Aktionen und Performances; danach freiberuflich tätig als Autor, Forscher, Organisator und Künstler; Mitarbeit in zahlreichen Initiativen und Vereinen; Mitherausgeber von AMOKKOMA, Vorstandsmitglied im EINSTELLUNGSRAUM (Hamburg); zahlreiche Ausstellungen und Ausstellungsbeteiligungen; letzte Einzelausstellung: Grimmuseum, Berlin, 4.-7. Dez. 2011; Publikationen von Fotos und Texten in Zeitschriften und Katalogen.
On Thursday, December 6, the artist Nicolas Freitag ist guest in Gitte Bohr in the series 1work/ 1room/ 1night/. He will present his extensive project KZ Ladelund Fragen, which he started in 2010. The project is a continuous investigation of the memorial KZ Ladelund (subcamp (außenkommando) of KZ Neuengamme) in northern Schleswig-Holstein, which is published on the web page www.kz-ladelund-fragen.de. This, the only KZ memorial in Germany that is funded mainly by the church, raises questions about for example the relationship between church and the National Socialist regime, as well as the, until today, deficient discussion of it.
The Sardinian artist Pietro Mele will on January 16 be the seventh and last guest in the series 1work/ 1room/ 1night/ at Gitte Bohr - Club für Kunst und politisches Denken. In a small exhibition and an artist talk, he will present his work, which for long have dealt with the interweaving geo-political, military and economic interests on his native island, which have massive ecological consequences. For many years now, the Italian state has leased a part of Sardinia to NATO states. Moreover, it makes areas on land and sea available for military exercises and the testing of new weapons, as well as for military interventions abroad (e.g. the war in Libya in 2011). Also the German Bundeswehr has an exercise area there. The dramatic ecological and health related effects for humans, animals and the islands unique nature, coming from poisons and radio activity, are, however, to a large extend hushed up. In videos, photos, poster actions, etc., Mele discusses this history and its consequences for the everyday lives of the inhabitants and tries to generate attention for the, also from a juridical point of view, questionable interventions in life on the island.