Marco Godinho / Mickaël Marchand / Panayiotis Michael / Pierre-Etienne Morelle / Ariel Schlesinger / Anna Witt


Exhibition view Episode 2: sabotage, 2013. Photos: Pierre-Etienne Morelle.

Sabotage is the disruption of a dynamic, the purposeful or unconscious ruin or failure of a system. Initiated as a worker’s strategy, sabotage has become a recurring artistic strategy in contemporary art. With »Episode 2: sabotage« insitu shows the work of seven artists that upset the harmony of an exhibition, like putting a spoke in the wheel of a moving machine. Discord is generated by interferences between the works themselves as well as the works and their audience. While some deal with the architectural structure of the exhibition space, others sabotage in a more subtle way by causing irritation, disorder or threat. This episode aims to alienate our standardized ways of approaching art as well as our environment, and reflects on the concept of the group exhibition as a possible field for sabotage itself. »It’s a sabotage!« – as a popular line of a Beastie Boys song states.

The intervention »Balloon« (2013) by Panayiotis Michael disturbs visitors’ access to the exhibition by blocking the insitu doorway entrance with a big inflated balloon. Visitors are no longer welcomed into to the space, but are instead forced to sneak inside through the window using a ladder as improvised access. Through Michael’s, seemingly simple childish trick the artist creates a harmless yet fundamental distortion of visitors’ usual behaviour.

At first glance Mickaël Marchand’s work »One thousand kilos of concrete, four meter long edges and you standing on it (ailleurs les falaises s´effritent)« (2013) presents a sculptural installation that restages the classic aesthetics of minimal art: a rectangular concrete cube set in relation to the spatial dimensions of the exhibition space. However, the fact that visitors are forced to step on the piece to enter the room irritates the initial impression of a traditional art piece. Made from compressed concrete powder the installation unfolds a second disorder: its unstable structure. Marchand’s work not only deals with questions of form and space, but also involves the visitor’s body as a destructive threat to the art piece itself.

»здесь деньги (Re-enactment of Money to find)« by Anna Witt shows the documentation of a performance of the same title realised in Moscow 2012. For »Money to find« Witt invited the audience to look for 15.000 Rubles (appr. 350 EUR) in a former office irrespective of sustainment of the space. If money was found it could be kept. By watching Witt’s video work, one can slowly experience the joyful demolition of the space initiated through the information of the hidden money and the power of group dynamics. In that manner Witt’s work not only presents the sabotage of a space, but maybe also discusses the sabotaging effect of money itself: we are going mad for money.

For the artwork »(…) it is not real« (2013) by Marco Godinho, seven piles of printed A4 paper sheets are distributed throughout the exhibition space. The sheets each contain a phrase that not only questions our relationship with reality but additionally asks us to question our universal understanding of the world. By writing provocative statements like »the air we breath is not real« or »the space where we are now is not real« Godinho tries to sabotage our sense of reality at least for a short moment. In his second work »Universal Declaration« (2013) Godhino copied the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the form of a crossed letter where one part of the text was written over another after rotating the paper. Through this process the text turns into an illegible pattern, a geometric grid that evokes a barbed wire.

Like an invisible fence Pierre-Etienne Morelle’s sound installation »Forbidden corners« reacts to the proximity of the viewer by producing barely bearable audio feedback when one approaches too closely. The work not only disrupts the ease of the spectator, but also inevitably interferes with one’s path across the space and thereby one’s apprehension of the works by the other artists in the same room.

Ariel Schlesinger likes to provoke the viewer’s perception with subtle manipulations of consumer goods. In »Gas loop« (2011), he creates a menacing climate around a small cooking gas bottle. By burning itself, the bottle threatens to explode at any time and thus puts the viewer in a difficult position between rational hostility and intuitive curiosity.

Artists: Marco Godinho (LU), Mickaël Marchand (F), Panayiotis Michael (CY), Pierre-Etienne Morelle (F), Ariel Schlesinger (IL), Anna Witt (AT)