Category Archives: Exhibitions/ Artworks

Testing Aesthetic Analysis

Art Transponder, the gallery and project space dedicated to contextual and social-embedded art, opened last week an exhibition by the art group Reinigungsgesellschaft (‘Cleaning Association’ or possibly ‘Purification Society’). Promoting themselves as operating in the spaces between art and social reality, for this exhibition, the group has drawn on research time within the German consumer rights body, Stiftung Warentest, a product testing organisation and watchdog. As a subject rarely (if ever?) the focus of art research, I was interested to see the results, but unfortunately I have to say, most of the exhibition didn’t really grab me. I was particularly put off by the dominant presence of graphic collages and flow charts produced in a cheap, ill-thought-out digital manner. I might of been convinced of their relevance in mirroring the visually-impoverished language of corporate power-point presentations, had the artists followed through on this logic in their final display decisions… what we get instead are wooden frames and (bizarrely) passe-partouts. Maybe this is a coy nod towards the clash of aesthetics when operating between art and social reality, but I just didn’t get the point of the framing.

Not to be all negatively critical, there was a series of works which I very much loved, if exactly because of their well-chosen simplicity and lack of any framing or stylisation. Presented at the rear of the gallery space were three video loops (two on monitors and one as a projection) recording some of the real product testing protocols carried out on chainsaws. The machines are filmed in profile retrained or forced by various mechanical grips, armatures and springs. Repetitively sent in convulsive spasms of action either through release from some holding mechanism or into forced contest with their own safety breaks, the efforts and reactions of the chainsaws are meticulously measured and documented – with the engineers’ actions documented in turn by the artists (both figuratively and literally… in one video an occasional anonymous arm enters stage right to adjust or reset a mechanism). Denied real agency as functional tools, the mechanical beauty derived from both the materiality and actions presented by the chainsaws during these product tests, relates the objects instead to the history of kinetic sculpture. To read them more psychologically, the videos depict the restraint, domestication and observation of raw aggressive energy… a movement from a presence of fear, to that of remove and aesthetic contemplation. We could argue then perhaps that the videos are related primarily to the older history of artistic preoccupation with the sublime.

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La vieillesse

Recently I visited the actual NGBK’s exhibition, that reflects on the social topic of oldness, or old age, or  getting older under the title “Ein Leben lang / All your life”. The exhibition grouped international and generation-wide artists, mostly working with the documentary aspect of photography or installation. It wasn’t a thunderstruck topic, as it has been subject to much discussion, medial attention and societal consideration these last decades, but it was as a set, a visually interesting show, that also fed my actual eagerness of seeing art exhibitions.

Some photographic works got my attention, unfortunately Peter Granser’s Sun City serie of photographs of the well-known American pensioners city had a unfortunate feeling of déjà-vu, but Canadian artist Donigan Cumming and his photographic work Pretty Ribbon depicts an astonishing mention of strangeness and eccentricity of the documented protagonist. Posing in her interior, staging her old, almost inert body in unusual situations, this obviously tired body shifted into disconcerting beauty, that sometimes remembered the documentary Grey Gardens.

Through the exhibition, I remembered an early lecture of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Coming of Age, an obligatory passage for my philosophy class that kept me detached and almost insensitive, in other words, too young. For sure, I thought, once I will try to read it again but I hardly managed to go further than the bookmarks I inserted when I was 16. I may have now some consideration about ageing, but then mainly concerned with an elderly acquaintance or relative and a general fear of syndromes that now have names, in other words, it is not the getting older that scares me but the the decrepit of a mind and its death. This paranoid status alongside the syndrome of getting old was not really depicted by the artists, but the potential of the exhibition also resided in this position.

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Control: Drawing and Re-Drawing

Larissa Fassler, Hallesches Tor (2007)

The current show at Wendt + Friedmann Galerie, entitled Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, reflects upon the experience of living in a foreign country, surveying the work of eleven international artists living and working in Berlin, and one German artist now based in New York. As such it was in part a survey of ‘here’ (Berlin/Germany), looked at from a position of those in motion towards it (spatially/culturally), with many of the eleven non-German artists deploying different artistic strategies of orientation to embed themselves within their new home.

David Keating and Larissa Fassler are two artists in the show which utilise methodologies of tracing and re-drawing as familiarisation aids. Keating’s work was simple, the presentation of two large sheets of paper, one of which was a page from a local German newspaper, while the other was a precisely executed ink and watercolour replica, but with all the text translated into English. Made physically manifest here is the process of reading a foreign language text with which you are familiar, morphing it in your mind as you read into the language of your mother-tongue. The replica Keating manufactures represents the ‘silent voice’ that runs at the back of our minds as we read, we translate, or we compose a text.

David Keating, Translation (2006)

Fassler’s sculptural work appeared to be a simplified, scale-model depiction of a series of conduits or tunnels. The exhibition text confirmed my guess that it represented a subway tunnel, more particularly the various entrance stairwells of the ‘Hallesches Tor’ U-Bahn station. The artist re-built this purist model of the spatial aspects of the station’s complex arrangement of entrance spaces after first engaging on a programme of her own measurements and observations of the real space. This slightly obsessive act of observation and familiarisation reflects also a less intense, but no less satisfying, desire to have mastery of the local transport system, as a badge of success in making a new city your home. My near total appreciation of this work (both sculpturally and conceptually) was undermined slightly by the unnecessary addition of a small digital clock display (representing train times) and recorded sounds (of the station itself I imagine), which served to point the work towards theater.

Both artists deploy stategies of drawing as methods of incorporation, taking elements of the unfamiliar new spaces and cultures, analysing them and representing them according to their own methods of control. Keating’s drawing displays in a very literal way (actual language translation) the cognition processes that mediate our relations to all texts, of bringing the information into a sphere of our pre-existing knowledge, of resisting the ‘otherness’ of the text. Fassler takes the bodily experience of being in strange new space and, totalising her material knowledge of it, later inverts the relative scale of her body and the space to ensure her dominance of it. Mini power-plays are contested through acts of drawing. So as to feel at home within the city, they are ensuring the city feels at home within them.

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A bit of matter and a little bit more

Same location than the previous Monodramas, but different setting.

Two or three floors up in the ‘House of the Children’, that has been refurbished and standardised into European luxury standards, is the private collection of Axel Haubrok to be visited, again only on Saturday. The hallway, the elevator that offered a quick look into some marble nouveaux-riches interiors, the instant lightning system, the digital buttons on circular shape, everything was set up to wonder and somehow confuse between the facade of these Stalinist relics and the new interiors.

Haubrokshows less, as the actual show is called, is until this Saturday, the best installed exhibition space to be seen in all Berlin. Under a survey exhibition on less material/more concept, less shapes/more white, I situated myself two floors above Bureau Müller, again in a white and empty space, here slightly bigger and without a real window opening. Almost a perfect white cube.

It took me a while to actually recognize the work, and for once since months I wondered myself being interested in the information sheet the visitor can find, after listening to a singer, performing Tino Seghal’s This is propaganda, 2002. An acoustic moment that gave me a reference point within the exhibition space’s geography.

A series of slides, white chocolate on canvas, photographs, brass plates, a sheet of paper crumbled into the wall, a postcard, some clocks, a circle on the floor, a woman singing and some buttermilk. Nothing particular, nothing spectacular, but I enjoy the professionality of this ultra-contemporary art collection, without having to go to some other art metropoles, and without expecting too much from a financial shark such as Axel Haubrok.

Let just hope that this area won’t be called the new Mitte on the capital’s weekly magazine…

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Stan Douglas’ Monodramas

“I’m not Gary” : Stan Douglas, Monodramas (1991)

On the ground floor of what used to be the House of the Children on Strausberger Platz, a small office with a wide view on the Karl-Marx-Allee and its left-overs pedestrians has been used recently as viewing point for contemporary art. Opened on Saturday only, to allow former communication director of Skulpturprojekt, Documenta 11, the KW and of the coming Kwanju Biennale, to work in his homonyme Bureau Müller, the office is just white and empty. Indeed it reminds of some more glorious time on this alley, that marked not only the border between Mitte and Friedrichshain, but that rhymed with Soviet-Realist buildings from Stalinist style, opening though Karl-Marx-Allee, in other words the starting point of the newly conceived GDR.

For viewing Stan Douglas Monodramas, some 30 to 60 second video conceived in 1991 like advertisements, commercials or other entertaining soap operas and broadcasted 1992 on Canadian TV, I sat on M.Müller desk, that for the exception of the dark color, melted perfectly in the empty room. Soon I got annoyed by the office seat, being too small for actually sitting properly on it, or is it simply that I am not familiar with the ergonomy of such designs? The lamp was a bit dusty, and I was facing the street, so that every curious visitors of this warm Saturday afternoon could contemplate the office, and this small person on that huge desk, watching not only a black TV, but gazing through the window to the street, observing almost from a mirador the hazard of this avenue. The voyeurs to be merged.

On the desk, the only object of the entire tiny but empty office, stood a picture of M.’s wife and son – to be recognised for being sometimes on some Artforum tabloid pictures for her engagement in some Western Germany institutions. The attempt to recreate a familiar environment could not be totally achieved, as the emptiness of the room irritated me. But the akwardness of sitting on someone’s desk I knew, watching some art on the precious tv-format, wondering if he is really taller than I am, was a concept that seduced me. For sure it followed this art-voyeurism, coinciding then with Douglas’ position towards (medial) consumption, here the consumption also to be arty.

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Art Day-Trips

I have been to two art events recently which I felt had a “day-trip” aspect to them, in that they involved a certain commitment of time and effort to travel to a never visited before aspect of the city. I think the sentiment above reflects more (my) lazy neighbourhood-centrality, something that can easily set in while living in a big city, more than it describes anything about the actual remoteness of the exhibition localities.

The first was 48 Stunden Neukölln (48 Hours Neukölln), a weekend art and culture ‘festival’ in one of the poorer, largely immigrant, quarters of the city (but in which hype about possibilities for artist-colonisation have recently reached fruition). It was organised by the local city-area ‘Kulturamt’ and showcased the many locally based artists and other cultural-producers in various studios, galleries and off-gallery sites throughout the neighbourhood. Two such off-gallery sites which spring to mind are a church altar, and the top level of a multi-storey car park – however the locating of the work is the thing to returns to memory and not the actual work itself. In fact, none of the work I saw in this event I felt was any good. Not one piece I can think of that stands out as worth a mention here. The best mention would go to the well-intentioned efforts of the local Kulturamt itself in organising an event the attempts to utilise art as a draw for people to a part of their city they may never of ventured to before, and for a short space of time, to activate comprehensively the local base of cultural producers. It is just a pity that this same base of cultural producers was unable to meet the challenge, and actually contribute some high-quality art.

The second event, Palm Fiction, organised by the White Elephant Collective, was a temporary two-week exhibition (with a bar and music stage) in a large former palm-oil warehouse near Ostkreuz. A handsome and dilapidated old building, the site is one where planned development into luxury apartments has been forestalled, and again artists take a moment to utilise the space. So it is transformed into a short-term site of cultural display, that which once-upon-a-time was cog in the exploitation of colonial trade, and presently is left fallow as the building’s speculator/developer awaits a favourable upturn in the trade winds of the property market. A charged site then, ripe for semiotic and critical exploitation, but again no one really steps up to the challenge I feel. Okay, there are brief aesthetic and conceptual acknowledgments of industrial and trade history, or our various relations to far-off destinations, but it is so dispersed in its intentions and soft in its delivery (and not to mention, in the main, badly produced, installed and curated, but lets leave that out for the moment), that it all washed very thin. I feel an opportunity was missed by the artists chosen to exhibit, to really explore collectively the mechanics of exhibition-making while embedded amongst a rich network of power relations and re-evaluations (colonial, property, cultural-tourism). Instead what was presented I think was a desperate scramble by the artists for individual moments of site-specifity, and to wildly varying degrees of success.

Two nice days out then, with interesting locations in Berlin, but a pity the postcards weren’t all that good.

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The Real Thing

(after the title of Midnight Oil’s 2000 album).

Brutal Youth, 2008, Daniel Guzman
Brutal Youth, furniture, door, plastic bones, record covers;
How to make a monster?
, ink on paper;
both 2008, Daniel Guzmán

“The responsibility and the autonomy of the citizens should be developed through a socio-cultural animation, through culture, arts and even education.” So was the idea of the Houses for the Youth and the Culture (Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture, MJC), an early post-war phenomenon in France, whose idea was to give a new (cultural and educational) frame for young people; in order to accompany them from the early ages until their majority. The concept of this year’s mediation programme of the berlin biennale is not far removed from this socialist-democratic idea of arts and culture, and goes even further in its utopia: in its belief in communities that create themselves through the getting together in an exhibition space, in constituting an assembly, in other words a democratic forum.

According to the concept of the mediation programme, mediation should be seen as “a vehicle of transformation (…) were a whole range of agents could contribute to the assembly of artworks and audience”, as written on the biennale’s website. For the third time I have been through the exhibition of the biennale with 16 year-old teenagers for a two-hour format of “investigations”, a format thought to focus or attentionate certain aspects of the exhibition in à la carte manner. None of the participants of such investigations have most-likely been in a museum before, or could even distinguish the term “contemporary”. Nevertheless they all came, maybe more forced than actually interested, as part of the obligatory art course between one class on the baroque, and another on trompe-l’oeil.

According to the format, the teenagers would become specialists or experts of the exhibition space, because they would get the opportunity of looking at art “differently”. But there frustrated the first attempts of the teenagers. How can the one obtain information if none is given, or the details have to be decodified? How can the one understand a code, if the mechanisms of the codification are not to be referred in any of their own experience?

In the aftermath of these difficult times spent with teenagers, I could join this experience to a special tour made for the former singer of Australian environmental rock-band Midnight Oil – Peter Garreth, now the country’s Minister for Environment, Heritages and Arts. As I felt in that case also totally out of space in a world of embassies and politics (or the rockscene in Australia, even though my link to Daniel Guzman’s ‘Devo’ piece was almost perfect here), this experience is similar to the one with teenagers as I must attempt to refer to their peculiar cultural contexts, or understandings of the art space, which usually differ much from my own background.

For most of the visitors of such art events – I would not talk about the art tourists, but a public that is not familiar to art, but believe in it as a tool for education and culture (as the post-war communist government in France believed) – the works shown have to deliver something immediate in order to be caught – usually a visual hook. I am here talking about these famously known maxims of “approachability of art”, or “access to the art world”. The general attitude towards an art exhibition is to enjoy the work, instead of attempting to value it. A methodical approach in counter-point to this attitude could be a one of finding references in a known context, in order to transpose them to the new art context. Moving one tool of value from one socio-cultural frame to the other.

For the teenagers I would ambitiously try to make them think about which degree of contemporariness an artwork should offer, in order to be understood in our societal context. After one of these investigations, one of the teachers told me – profoundly embarrassed that none of her pupils reacted to one of my most provocative attempt to make them talk – that it is difficult for teenager to get access to contemporary art as it is extremely detached from reality or their lifes. Right. If I would consider this comment, I am then floating in an area in which I’m trying to define some new criteria in the exhibition. Still as my role as a mediator, I have to adapt within the different groups of people coming to see “art” and choose the good card. In that case I could try to come back to some pseudo-pedagogical capacities gained through two years experience of “teenagers-workshoping”, speaking the infamous social worker language: a patronising attempt to speak the teenagers lingo, a excruciating experience for all concerned.

Through these experiences there is at least one thing that assures me about the exhibition itself and the mediation programme. Neither is actually ready to operate a dialogue between the audience, the work shown and those with knowledge. It is not necessary to refer to Plato’s shadows within the democratic forum (this year berlin biennale is entitled “when things cast no shadow”), but for sure sophism does not work with teenagers either.

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On Quotations


Plan Werkbund exhibition 1914

Werkbund Ausstellung Cöln, 1914, exhibition plan

Many dislocations, replacements, translation processes and relocations can be observed at this year’s berlin biennale. A good third of the works shown are somehow related to a strenuous site-specificity, if not made for the space, then referring to the space in its larger sense (geographical location, historical parameter, etc.); one is the sculptural installation of Goshka Macuga engaged into a specific critique of history-making. History-making; as indeed she is reconstructing one-to-one exhibition displays designed in the 1920s and 1930s within the framework of the Werkbund (German Organisation of the Art and Crafts, created to support the German industry via German artists and craftsmen) exhibition by Mies van Der Rohe, the architect, the predominant male figure of the Neue Nationalgalerie, and his professional and private partner Lilie Reich, rarely mentioned in official history of course.

The biennial curators’ decision not to include title and names of the artists within the exhibition may cut off the questioning Macuga would like to highlight, but could focus on the tensional tradition of self-contained artwork versus the concept-form rhetoric. One of the structures she presents is a cute glass furniture, designed for a less sexy purpose: the display of different kinds of glass. The two other pieces are big frames responding fairly enough to the steel and glass structure of the museum itself, with some textiles draped on them: the textiles to quote directly Lilie Reich, the textile designer from the Bauhaus, educational product of the Werkbund.

A dialectic Goshka Macuga uses endlessly is the one of titles, titles that are only given in a vague exhibition leaflet. Here, these are referring to many aspects of the Werkbund, and of course its major figure, Mies van der Rohe. But I doubt every viewer could actually relate to them directly. The two glass and steel frames ornamented with textiles hold the title “House of the Woman”, that refers to a 1914 Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. The organised group of designers and artists decided to have a pavilion within this exhibition showing exclusively works by the female members of the Werkbund, and be designed by the few members themselves; segregating within their gender, rather than discipline. While the title of the glass structure is referring to an exhibition organised 1934 by the National-Socialists called “German Folk, German Work”. This exhibition took the same vocabulary than the Werkbund, and even asked the former members of the Bauhaus (dissolved by the Nazis as well as the Werkbund 1933) Matin Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Lilie Reich, to design the exhibition of this ideological event. For sure I could go further into the theory behind all this, or through one of my readings of German history and the picking-up of cultural figures; but I would rather focus on the processes of reconstruction and relocation, frequently observed in art spaces.

To quote the biennale itself: the Polish artist Paulina Olowska is reproducing b/w reproductions of original paintings, while the Portuguese artist Pedro Barateiro is placing into Berlin’s urban landscape relics of what used to be glorious communist daily-life infrastructures. Further than being a trend on the art market, this use of reconstruction could be understood as being a strategy of semantic storage, which is the process of transcription. Macuga is only playing on the visual level of the Werkbund by commissioning young German designers for the textiles. She creates a vocabulary made out of spaces between communicative and cultural memory, and what has been lost within these blanks. While the cultural memory usually operated in the written form, to be understood by individuals of a certain social framing (generation-wise), the communicative memory used very simple procedures of first-person communication, that is mainly in telling. The natural process from the communicative to the cultural is mainly a one of writing, of sourcing, of referring on paper, of quoting. This process is the same than the one used by many artists at the Neue Nationalgalerie: Macuga is quoting the author of an object by reproducing the object, jointing bits and pieces of memories into an historical reconstruction. Then the sculpture acts as medial, as an image-medial tool of memnotechnique that becomes the transcription itself.

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Icelandic Love Corporation at Ard Bia Berlin

The Tent Lady's Hospitality
The Tent Lady’s Hospitality, video still, 2008, Icelandic Love Corporation

It is said Heinrich Boll’s love-letter to the west coast of Ireland, Irisches Tagebuch (1957), brought innumerable numbers of Germans to the region in the latter part of the last century to “play truant from Europe”. Different, but commonly pervasive myths about the particularities of place, draw innumerable artists and cultural practitioners from all over the world here to Berlin. One of the new arrivals is Ard Bia Berlin, a sister-enterprise of Ard Bia gallery in Galway, from the same region of Ireland that Boll once wrote so lovingly of, albeit now a radically different place in all meaningful regards.

Ard Bia Berlin offers a studio residency which has attracted a large interest from Irish artists wishing to practice in the city for a short length of time. In addition the space hosts a gallery exhibition programme, currently showing the work of the Icelandic Love Corporation, who are momentarily also resident in the studio apartment. The show is entitled The Tent Lady’s Hospitality, and is structured into two parts. In one gallery room, an installation; the other hosts a single video work representing a staged performance. The Icelandic Love Corporation’s practice has a strong performative dimension, and Arb Bia Berlin’s co-ordinator (Rosie Lynch) informs me that for the opening weekend they performed in the first gallery space. I won’t attempt to write of their performance background, largely because I am frequently non-plussed by performance in general – or more correctly, fairly ignorant of both the history of the form, and personal experience of good examples – but also because I am more interested in the fact that I missed that aspect of the exhibition.

For the installation simultaneously contains aspects of the tableau, the mise-en-scene, and qualities of the relic. There is a here-ness in the considered materiality of the objects that inhabit the space: inflatable balloon-chairs reminiscent of 70’s Spacehoppers, a mirrored medicine cabinet that seems to hold both a dress (or tent?) repair-kit and a disposable camera, a bizarre crocheted pair of leggings on the wall. A silver tea set and serving tray is positioned in the centre of the room under a fabric canopy, whose gaudy red and white striped patterning is repeated on all the walls. There is a distinct creepiness in the (literally) rose-tinted perfection in the space, and its allusion to old children’s film and television. In fact, something about it reminds me distinctly of the 1968 film Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, and I look over my shoulder half-expecting the Child-Catcher to come though the door. I remember how my own childhood fear of the film arose not just from this isolated character, but also the entire creepy, colour-co-ordinated, and garish claustrophobia of the fictive Vulgaria.

On closer inspection, the silver tray of the tea set reveals the inscriptions of an Ouija board.

My co-presence with the objects is temporally disrupted by a sense of the to-be-ness and the there-ness within the installation. There arises, via the theatrical composition of the space, a notion of being in a place awaiting activity: a kind of empty anticipation. Simultaneously there is a sense I am witnessing the aftermath of something: an action, a performance. I remember a critique of Roman Signer was that his sculptures were merely relics of his far more potent actions. I don’t see this dynamic as a devaluing mechanism. I think there is richness in the dissonance between objects being both contemporaneous and residue. But there is certainly a tangled but forceful feeling here, and it is synthesised from my sense of having missed a thing (an event), the relentless ubiquity in the stylisation of experience, and the childhood references strongly present.

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Lars Laumann’s video work Berlin-Muren (2008), was without a doubt one of my favourite pieces in the Berlin Biennale. Even still, I always had certain reservations about it, which were confirmed by my developing unease while watching the artwork.

Laumann’s 27 minute long video traces a part of the life of Riitta Berliner-Mauer, who professes physical and emotional love for the Berlin Wall, to the extent that in 1979 the two were ‘married’. Berliner-Mauer has objectophilia – the sexual love of objects, which she calls objectúm-sexuality. In the video she discusses in depth her complex sexuality, her belief in the existence of a soul within objects, and the history of her relationship with the Berlin Wall, including her devastation in 1989 when the wall was largely demolished. She goes as far as to mention having sex with the Wall, which she claims is not masturbation, as masturbation involves objects of fantasy: which do not have souls. The video piece has prevalent characteristics of the documentary, or perhaps more specifically, the confessional. For the voice is always Berliner-Mauer’s (except for a brief segment introducing a second individual with objectophilia who shares her love of the Wall), and in fact her entirely off-screen narration is derived almost totally from the text of her own website. This fact perhaps complicates my initial reservations: are we being invited simply to laugh at the subject?

I must say that my initial reactions were to chuckle, laugh outright, or watch in amused disbelief, along with most of the audience it seemed. While I had the benefit of prior knowledge about the video’s origin, I’m at least sure some of the other audience members took this for a fiction; a spoof. But our collective amusement made me more than uncomfortable as I left the constructed screening room at the Skulpturenpark. At its root, the sense perhaps of participation in a soft exploitation. Actually, for me at least, Riitta Berliner-Mauer comes out of the work in a highly sympathetic light. Its hard not to like her, even if she puts her passion for the Wall’s survival before the lives of those who it helped oppress and divide; but as she argues, it was not the Wall’s fault – it did not ask to be built anymore then you or I asked to be born. In the end, she seems simply as a person with highly unusual aspects to her lifestyle, but who is unashamed to talk of it, and in result is tolerant of difference and individuality.

So what role then has the artist, and what role the audience? Does the subject’s collaboration in, and complicity with the artwork, mean she is not being exploited for entertainment value? It could be said Berliner-Mauer is the primary creative force here. She is the creative agent of her own fascinating character, and the scriptwriter of the artwork’s narration. Laumann is the recorder, the connector, the framer, a silent commentator maybe. An exploiter? I’m not so convinced: at least not one of Riita Berlin-Mauer. I can see that he is merely highlighting (as he often does in his work) contemporary culture’s own fascination with the perpetual wunderkammer that the Internet provides – the emailed youtube videos, the strange and amusing websites passed between co-workers and friends, the windows into lives of social Others. What role have we here then, the art audience – the freak-show gawkers?

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