Francis Alÿs / David Brognon & Stéphanie Rollin / Moritz Frei / Isabelle Giovacchini / Klara Hobza / Letizia Romanini / Takahiro Suzuki / Guido van der Werve / Mai Yamashita & Naoto Kobayashi


Exhibition view Episode 4: tireless workers, 2013. Photos: Pierre-Etienne Morelle.

In the group show »Episode 4: tireless workers« insitu presents artistic positions and artworks that are devoted to fulfilling absurd, maybe even senseless tasks. Metaphorically these artworks can be described as Sisyphean actions, impressive by their strength to tirelessly continue a task, which most others would probably consider useless. The exhibition focuses on artistic strategies, which tend to give priority to time, effort and repetition over efficiency. These art pieces follow one of the great luxuries of art – the freedom to realize (performative) tasks which do not necessarily follow what one would call a productive goal, but are instead more interested in trying to realize an idea no matter how crazy, painful or impossible it seems.

Klara Hobza’s sculpture »From Cologne to Bonn« is the outcome of her long-term project »Diving Through Europe«. For this project, which began in 2010, she plans to enter the Rhine from the North Sea, proceed through the Rhine to the Main, then through the Main-Danube-Channel, down through the Danube, and all the way to the Black Sea. Hobza estimates that this endeavor will require the next 20–30 years. Within the pyramid of oxygen bottles Hobza visualizes the massive physical reality of diving a long distance such as from Cologne to Bonn.

At first glance, the series of canvases »about:blank« seem to show nothing, however, Isabelle Giovanicchi spent a lot of time creating them. Like a daily ritual or physical training, she rigorously pierced the canvases in a uniform square pattern. One can think of a miniaturist artist who spends hours on this meticulous task, but Giovacchini advocates the method over the visual outcome, which remains here almost invisible.

Whether Guido van der Werve walks across frozen Finnish seas only a few meters in front of a huge icebreaker or runs around his house for 12 hours, the artist usually exposes himself to tremendous physical hardships and dangers to create his lyrical and melancholic art pieces. »Effugio A: Chamomile, Russia’s National Flower or Running to Rachmaninoff« is a 16 slide projection documenting an endurance performance piece that Van der Werve premiered in 2010. The artist embarked on a solitary journey to Rachmaninoff’s grave, traversing more than 45 km throughout New York, to place a flower bouquet on his tombstone. Guido van der Werve continues to honor the composer by repeating his performance annually.

Letizia Romanini’s work »Ohne Titel (Schwankend)« can be described as obsessive and Sisyphean, as is her site-specific drawing which has been especially created for insitu. In a self-imposed and strict working rhythm, Romanini tried to create a continuous straight line formed by stamps dipped in ink. The aim to achieve a perfect line is futile as the task can never be perfectly made by a human being.

In April 1996 the Japanese artist Takahiro Suzuki decided that the act of writing the word: »IKIRO – Be Alive« should become a life project. Since then he has been writing IKIRO every day. For his participation at insitu, Suzuki wrote IKIRO with lemon juice on a paper and sent it to Berlin. During the travel time the writing became visible. On the 15th year anniversary of the IKIRO project Suzuki states: »The more Takahiro writes IKIRO, the less reason there is for him to do it. This is what he can say and it really doesn’t matter if he can find a good meaning to write IKIRO in his life. Writing IKIRO is still mysterious for him and he thinks there are lots of things we never know.«

In the small dark space of insitu is the almost hidden Moritz Frei performance »Divide et impera«. For 5 hours during the opening he will undertake an unusual activity that defies the laws of entropy by reorganizing the chaos of muesli into an ordered system. From a mixed bunch, he arranges each kind of cereal and piece of fruit by type, size or color. The goal of this performance is as futile as its realization is laborious, Frei gives us his parodic interpretation of the absurdity of some grandiose and visionary human enterprises.

The second room of insitu is devoted to a series of films by the artists Francis Alÿs, David Brognon & Stéphanie Rollin, Klara Hobza and Mai Yamashita & Naoto Kobayashi.

Francis Alÿs (BE), David Brognon & Stéphanie Rollin (LU/BE), Moritz Frei (D), Isabelle Giovacchini (FR), Klara Hobza (D), Letizia Romanini (LU), Takahiro Suzuki (JP), Guido van der Werve (NL), Mai Yamashita & Naoto Kobayashi (JP).