Sag mir wo die Blumen sind, Wichser
(Where are all the flowers gone, wanker)

ein Volk von Verrätern

The last sculpture of Gertrude Vanderbildt Whitney

A poem:

Obstacles to reaching the desired increase the Desire.
A well symbolizes access to the hidden feelings and emotions of the Dreamer.
Access is fantasy. Because it is ruled by someone else, and:
one is thwarted at every turn.
In stead of going down the well, we buy products - Captive
to their rules.
Be careful not to quench your thirst in captivity!
(Who wants to be independent?)
The state of drunkenness is a celebration of thirst.

“ well of thirst ”
installation made from glass bottles
selected from garbage and from a
collection of bottles which were
originally to serve as munition.
installed in a concrete shaft.
In Bir-Zeit, Palestine, I chose for my work a construction site near by the old town. I intervened this site with installations made from found material, garbage-separation and drawing/graffiti.
The interventions are reflecting on possibilities and impossibilities between the actual place and the idea of an ideal place. The impossibility of perfection seems to encourage the idealism. The eternal construction site opens up the field for endless possibilities.
I am tempted to exploit the potential of possibility in the unfinished, in the the impossible ideal. My practice contradicts the phantasy of the perfect project means by small, temporary, effective interventions, by placing the idea of the idyll in the real place.
These interventions are temporary since the environment is changing with the progressing of the construction on the site.

“ easy maze with exit ” sculpture: steal/wire

“ the idyll ” graffiti: spray paint on sand

translation: “The weather in the park is pleasant and the wind is fine. The park has beautiful fountains which add to its beauty. The children are playing on the fountains and they all look very happy. Their parents are sitting on the green lawns of the park and chatting. Some children are playing with balloons. The little girls are skipping ropes and some are running
and trying to catch butterflies.”

“ interrupted spiral ” graffiti: spray paint on wall, rubble slope

“ ship in staircase ” drawing-collaboration with local carpenter:
charcoal on wall in raw staircase of shell construction
“ avalanche ” sculpture: garbage

“ souvenirs ”

pieces of wall with
certification stamp
“original wall in occupied
Palestine”, pieces of
Berlin-wall with certificate,
broken tiles, TV playing
video-documentary of:

“ wall stone souvenir trade ”
business start-up

collaboration with
Khaled Jarrar in 3 parts:

- quarrying the wall,
- trading the stones to
souvenir retailers in
- advertising the product
to tourists.

Impressions from the Hudson River

Riverside Manhattan, HDV docu,
45 min,
New York,
2008 – 2010

Between the city highway Riverside Drive and the shore of the Hudson River from the Upper west Side up to 125st Street in Harlem there runs a narrow grass verge with a cycle track. Beside this cycle track the shore is sloping precipitously down to the Hudson. Here, concealed under a thick hedge of trees and undergrowth, people build their lodgings from temporary material. They are mainly Mexican decent, speaking Spanish and partly rudimentary in English. At different places of the shore they have settled their different areas of life. There is a sleeping area in the northern area which is completely hidden and can be reached only by hiking over stones by the water along the stony shore from Harlem or from the south. A little bit more to the south there is a temporary chapel with candles and rosaries. Even further to the south there is the dining area which is virtually public.
The film: Faithful of my role as a European adventuress and explorer, I proceed on expedition in the metropolis of Manhattan. While poking around on the shore of the Hudson Rivers, I am bumping into garbage and into lying around clothes. Between rock lumps sticks a mattress. I climb further and discover one hut built cleverly in the slope. I begin to wonder and decide to follow the thing. The film material is showing my discovering of the dwellings and the relaxed talks with the inhabitants. First I get to know an other Hudson tourist. He lives in a shelter for the homeless and has sat down to the aim to make friends with the inhabitants of the shores. He becomes my leader, points to me the desolate and the inhabited sites and tells me what he knows about the "Hudson people". Finally, on one of the next days I hit on two young men of the shore group. We share their beer and talk about painting and about the forthcoming presidential election. On account of the language problem we talk with hands and feet and in simple English.

The last sculpture

350 x 150 x 160 cm, wood, granite, steel, plaster, clay, cotton, plastic wrap, New York 2009

the sculpture project “The last Sculpture” took place in my studio within the scope of Columbia university of New York. This was a site specific project using the media sculpture, performance and narrative text. The sculpture existed primarily of water based clay, yellow towels, clear plastic wrap and a blue covering sheet. It was sculpturing two male heroic representations: a relieved slave, looking in the future while braking his ties, and a native American, with a pondering, vanquished expression. Both figures joint with each other in the back as a pair like Siamese twins in the manner that one seems to free himself from the other, or, however, as if the one is molding himself out of the other, like Eve is molded out of a rib of Adam. The figures are free recreations of existing American sculptures of 19th century. The sculpture was build in a way that the clay got cracks and had to be watered and kept wet by constantly wrapping it with wet towels and plastic foil, to be regularly remodeled and treated again with wrap, so that the sculpture changed continually. This classic sculptural, modeling activity with an aesthetic product posed at the same time a destruction of the same, reduced itself to absurdity and culminated in gyrating of history, made leeway into fantastic stories. Not only the absurd combining of winning slave with moulting Indian makes no real historic sense: in an illustrated accompanying text I developed and manipulated the history of the really existing sculptor and museum patroness Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney whom I was performing and who I proclaim the creator of the sculpture. My sculpture action in New York also had a fictive or novelist side, where the history was manipulated and the sculpture was inserted into phony (however, plausible) historical connection. My intention is to cause confusion in order to bring about controversial standpoints, but also to make people “don't know what to think about it”, because this might be the first condition of a set of new thoughts.

(See next page: the last sculpture text !

The Last Sculpture

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (January 9, 1875–April 18, 1942) was an American sculptor, art patron and collector, and founder in 1931 of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. She was a prominent social figure and hostess, who was born into the United States Vanderbilt family and married into the Whitney family.
During World War I, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney dedicated a great deal of her time and money to various relief efforts, establishing and maintaining a hospital for wounded soldiers in Neuilly in the Seine-et-Marne département in France. Following the end of the War, she was involved in the creation of a number of commemorative sculptures.

The very last months of her life she spend exclusively on building a Last Sculpture. From october 1941 until april 1942 she worked on a monumental figurative sculpture in her studio located in in a former pasteurization plant in Harlem on 125th street. Her sculpture made of clay and combining traditional and modern materials should never become a cast like her former sculptures, nor should it even become possible to replace it. Imprisoned in the studio, the sculptures fate is left in question. The visible process of creation and decay incorporates the idea of impossibility of steadiness and perfection.

Her sculpture consists of a junction of two male nude figures, representing a native American and a freed slave. She committed herself to washing them, continuously keeping the clay wet and wrapping the figures with towels, she called it clothing, and then protecting them with a plastic wrap, then to “undress” and wash them again... to repeat the whole procedure on and on, face to face with its inevitable but unpredictable decay, face in face with radioactive decay. Not only that she payed her young and attractive male life models very well, but also they had to stay during the nights, which gave cause to various rumors.

The physical presence of the sculpture makes expression of a desire to break free out of determination. At the same time it looks as if the heaven was pushing him down. Where would the history take them?? Close friends report that instead of caring for herself during the last month of her deadly sickness, she sacrificed herself completely in care giving to her sculpture of clay. Allegedly she spoke about the wish not to create a representation but rather to create life. Also she was caught by reflections about time and relativity, influenced by her friendship with AlbertEinstein.

The building where her passionate and desperate actions took place was partially owned by her and partially by the Columbia university, giving space for its Manhattan Project department. As a result of these circumstances Gertrude shared the building with the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer who was at that time working on a project to develop the first atomic weapon.

In 1942, the last months of Gertrudes life and the months of her final work, Roberts project, which stood under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and under the administration of General Leslie R. Groves, became more and more ambitious. During World War II, the Manhattan Project created the first nuclear bombs, and the first human engineered nuclear detonation.

Nowadays Gertrudes studio building houses Columbia university school of the arts. Her studio can still be visited. It is open to public throughout this exhibition. Guided tours are offered by the artist

Male Nudes

the exhibition: 5 paintings 210cm x 160cm, oil on canvas, 7 drawings, charcoal and acrylic on paper, one handout/text

I was asked to exhibit in a space in Munich, Germany, which, between 1920 and 1940 had been the studio of the Nazi Photographer and Hitler-portraitist Heinrich Hoffmann. The Gallery nowadays is pursued by a psychoanalyst. I decided to create a show with a series of nude paintings and drawings. The large scale oil paintings originated in my studio in New York by painting directly after the model or using drawings.
A statement of a model is describing his own experiences of being painted and his perspective on the painter. It was distributed to the visitors in form of a handout. My painterly perspective on the model is exposed to the models perspective on me, and to the perspective of the trader towards the merchandise, and exposed to the dominant history of the showroom, which there is: the practice of the portraitist Heinrich Hoffmann. I compare and contradict his practice through my practice.
In addition, the visitor was monitored and documented by the art dealer in person of the psychoanalyst. The result of her observations revealed, that, while female visitors were foremost interested in aesthetic issues, male visitors tend to identify with the model and they showed predominantly 2 different reactions: either they felt victimized or they tried to deny the masculinity of the model. Instead of being the passive receiver of information, the viewer takes on an active role by judging over the representations. The representations remind us to embarrassing or menacing chapters of the European history, to fear-giving emancipation movements, the reversal of the gender relation and the degradation to a sex object as a weapon in the struggle for power. An aesthetic tribute to the male beauty is received as a provocation due to the local-temporal context of the display. The romantic painting depicts first of all an impression of an intimate moment, a certain unique respect between two people, namely the painter and the painted person. Nonetheless, the paintings release uneasiness.

academy of economics

Chalkboard drawing, performance on July 10th 2010, Berlin-Neukoelln
Visualisation of the structure of departments of the ongoing project:
- “Academy of Economics”, combined to a washing-mashine-tub

The “Akademie der Wirtschaftswissenschaften” was a scientific institute in GDR, until its closure in 1990. With using its name for an artists work-and show-space I am announcing its re-establishment in order to create a space and a structure which is working against the script of a competition-based market economy but is applying artistic rules on economy, for example by implementing anonymous collaboration. The Academy of economics is an ongoing experimental project in form of a management-conception, which I visualize within chalkboard-drawings in which I practice a “fictive economy”. For this purpose I am renting a space in Berlin-Marzahn and I take on roles like “Visualizer” or “Project-Manager”.

“Lidl vs Netto”- Exchange Service

In August 2010 the academy of economics hosted its first group show titled “Lidl vs Netto”. Lidl and Netto are competing german supermarket-chains with more or less equally bad working conditions for employees.
The Exchange-Center offered an exchange program for employees of Lidl and Netto, who would switch their workplace for the duration of 1 week. The project was advertized and executed in cooperation with The Department of Control. During this time span of the Exchange the academy displayed artworks of selected artists using the media painting, sculpture, language, fiction, action, video, photography, installation, performance.

Business competition vs unprofitable exchange
Performance. August 22nd 2010

An american business consultant fails trying to find
arguments for the unprofitable exchange and challenges
the principal of competition.

While actors were reading the text, I designed a chalkboard
drawing using arabic calligraphy.


The chalkboard drawing is an Arabic Google-Translate Translation of a chain of associations which I wrote in German. Starting with the principle of competition and distrust, a series of keywords from risk minimization through control reaches to strategies of the victimized by overreaching control measures which finally leads to the idea of intervention by exchange as an artistic medium.

The chain of association was inspired by my experiences of the interrogations at the "airport procedure" associated with my denied entry into the U.S. A.
My subsequently designed imaginary "Academy of Economics Marzahn" has the agenda to experimentally infiltrate business processes with the criteria and values of the creative process such as by unprofitable exchange.

The relation between the "Arab" world and the "western" world is largely marked by mutual misunderstanding and mistrust. The principle of competition and distrust is for each enterprise at the same time motor and risk, which can be minimized by extensive control measures.
The Israeli and Palestinian interests are not compatible. Is an exchange between winners and losers possible? Is the strategic goal a "peace" with hostile inequality or a victory?

I use Google Translate as a symbol for the incredible variety of misunderstandings and the general difficulty of making each other understand. I am asking myself if one can understand the other at all. The outcome is poetry.

The english google translate translation of the german text which was translated from german into arabic and back from arabic into german with google translate:

 predicted value, can not be predicted, and connects 
 helps them to see their work better in the context of coexistence 
 new confrontation. Not next to the competition is not to create a gesture of friendship 
 relevance of the work and to consider new, to be aware of before the declaration of the art. Daily activities of a new approach to improving the special character 
 discover new ways of restrictions on the media and the strengthening of 
 technical standards in their daily work, for example, part of the working process of the typical
There is no risk 
 trust reduce 
 control the risk 
 of production processes and technologies 
 personnel control to customer control 
 no control over the security risks insurance 
 Finance may skip insurance independent 
 of control systems aim / whatever 
 total control and surveillance and the violation of personal rights of commerce, data and monitoring of special attention jumps 
 victims on the monitoring target interest and taxes
Fire Control Systems victims top
Vengeance and violence
Search for meaning:
- The nose and throat - Emotional
Find the importance of emotional development 
 explanation of the control systems where appropriate 
 the lack of formal religious control. Surrender God only, and monitoring 
 and God makes sense of revenge 
 means trying to press releases 
 and moderation emotional restoration of law 
 control - legal procedures, legal and self-defense attack 
 economists respond 
, reducing the cost of providing benefits and risks of 
 best is prepared to offer 
 happy turning even the most severe withdrawal 

The english google-translate translation of the original german text:

Competition - Mistrust Risk minimization
Control of production processes and technology, Supervision of employees, Control of the customer, Control of the competitors
uncontrollable risks
Insurance, financial security, to become independent insurance business
Well overreaching control systems to become independent,
total control, monitoring, invasion of personal rights, Trade data, Own interest, the supervisory
Victims of the overreaching control systems
1. Revenge, violence
2. Search for meaning: - Anti-emotionality, Declaration of the control systems as necessary, inherent in the system
- Religion: Relinquish control, only God has control, by God makes all sense
3. regain control, Journalism - Education, emotive terms, Law - legal action, law, self defense, attack
4. economically respond: what is going to save
Cost-benefit assessment,
Mitigate risk,
To optimize
terms with the situation looking forward, displacement,
greater self-control
Intervention Exchange Art versus predictability
Work together and do something that benefits are not 100% predictable, connects, helps them see their own work in new light
The coexistence rather than conflict. Besides the competition is something that connects created, Friendly gesture
The work you do, consider, anew, be aware, by being declared to be art. Everyday activities are considered new and get the character of the Special, Expanding horizons, new possibilities, the boundedness of opportunities to question
Self-Empowerment, artistic criteria to include in the daily work
the shape of the stereotypical workflow