Maria Anwander / Ruben Aubrecht / Julie Goergen / David Horvitz / Kimberly Clark / Jonathan Monk / Björn Perborg / Antoine Renard


Exhibition view Episode 3: cézanne beats pollock, 2013. Photos: insitu.

In parallel to Berlin’s big autumn art events: abc Berlin and the Berlin Art Week, insitu presents »Episode 3: Cézanne beats Pollock« a group show that reflects on and discusses mechanisms of the art market as well as the art system itself. An artist’s professional ascension is ruled by numerous, often very hierarchical steps. Besides the studio work and the artistic content itself, an artist is confronted more and more with various concerns. These concerns can include networking, recognition in the media, plus the accumulation of shows and public appearances, all of which lead to forms of ›starification‹ in the art world. Invented by Hollywood, implanted into the art field by Andy Warhol, and widely applied since the 2009 TV show »School of Saatchi« (which looked for the next upcoming artist star), this strongly competitive system within art induces an often ambivalent situation in which artists find themselves trying to produce independent and authentic artworks while being dependent on and influenced by the rules of gallerists, curators, and collectors. Therefore, reflections on the pressure to succeed, financial security or the sustainability of art pieces are often embedded into the content of art production itself. »Episode 3: Cézanne beats Pollock« assembles artworks that question the repercussions of this system on artistic production and attitudes with an often self-deprecating and humorous approach.

The ironic statement lit in neon: »Untitled (Not All Art Will Go Down in History)« (2012) by the artist Maria Anwander, opens up the question of heirachy in art. Specifically, the comment refers to which artworks gain recognition, not only nowadays but across history. The piece can be seen as a response to the neon »ALL ART HAS BEEN CONTEMPORARY« by the famous Italian conceptualist Maurizio Nannucci. Appropriating certain formal characteristics of Nannucci’s neon, Anwander takes Nannucci’s statement further and underlines the not so romantic truth that not all contemporary art pieces finally succeed in entering the canon of art history.

Ruben Aubrecht’s work, produced in collaboration with Maria Anwander, »Untitled (Letter of refusal)« (2011) reveals a slice of the daily reality of artistic production: a letter of refusal that the artists received for a funding application by the City of Vienna. Ironically the piece became later part of the City of Vienna art collection since the artists decided to donate ot to the collection. Now whenever the piece is loaned to a show it is labelled with »Collection of the Department for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna – MUSA«.

Jonathan Monk’s piece »A Copy Of Deflated Sculpture No. 1, 2009« (2013) is an industrially produced copy of one of Monk’s series titled »Deflated Sculpture«, initiated in 2009. The »Deflated Sculpture« is an irreverent reference to Jeff Koon’s »Rabbit«. Its deflated shape comments on the possible collapse of art ›starification‹. By reproducing his art piece in China, Monk’s sculpture additionally evokes questions about the global processes of contemporary economy as well as the difference between the original and the copy. The reality of this global production chain means that »A Copy Of Deflated Sculpture No. 1, 2009« won’t be in Berlin in time for the opening. This means that one of the greatest fears in exhibition production comes true: that an artwork does not arrive. Furthermore, the absent piece is made by the most famous artist in the show, and thus the most likely name that has attracted public interest. The audience is left with an empty pedestal.

In her video work »Fictional Artists in American TV shows« (2012), Julie Goergen presents a succession of different artist characters, appearing in famous American TV shows. Even though the existing artist stereotypes on mainstream television are somewhat exasperating, the chosen scenes are too hilarious to not be entertained. In addition to the video Goergen has produced artist portfolios for each fictional artist, trying to get as close as possible to the constructed artist’s lives. During the opening a special video with selection of opening scenes only will be presented. Here we can follow the wonderfully true clichés of exhibition receptions.

The material that Antoine Renard uses for the works »1 % Value« (2013) is the surplus of produced banknotes, available at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt after being thoroughly shredded. From these colourful pieces of crushed paper, the artist creates a series of painterly monochromes, whose shape and proportion purposefully match the criteria of ›sellable‹ art pieces. By returning money from valueless material into merchandise, Renard humorously questions the seemingly arbitrary value of the works that the art market governs.

David Horvitz uses the internet to make his work »Pyramid Lake, Nevada« (2012) easily accessible for all. He offers access for anyone to download, print and hang the work with the attribute of his name, and thereby successfully avoids the usual means of art distribution. The work can be exhibited without Horvitz’s permission, bypassing the usually necessary access through the artist’s gallery, which often provokes the gallerist’s takeover of an artist’s career. »Pyramid Lake, Nevada« shows a scan of a violation that Horvitz received while making a photograph of Pyramid Lake, for which he would have needed permission to be on the Federal land.

»Money and the video artist« (2012) a thorough personal reflection by Björn Perborg upon what it takes to survive as an artist in general and as a video artist in particular. In the neutral tone of a documentary voice over Perborg declares the total income he has received so far as a video artist. With little cartoon figures and joyful arranged banknotes, flight tickets and tax calculations Perborg makes us follow his friendly voice into a rather unfriendly reality.

Furthermore insitu invited the artist collective Kimberly Clark (Iris van Dongen / Ellemieke Schoenmaker / Eveline van de Griend) to stage a performance. The performance »Give me change« will take place during the opening as well as at different locations in Berlin throughout the duration of the exhibition. The collective of Dutch artists often reveals disturbing images that are driven by the unexpected – a practice through which the artists call for more space for intuition, improvisation and passion in both society and art.

Artists: Maria Anwander (AT), Ruben Aubrecht (AT), Julie Georgen (L), David Horvitz (US), Kimberly Clark (NL), Jonathan Monk (UK), Björn Perborg (S), Antoine Renard (F)