Kunstverein Nürnberg

Christodoulos Panayiotou & Philip Wiegard

Nine to Five

05 Mar - 22 May 2016

Christodoulos Panayiotou & Philip Wiegard
Nine to Five, 2016
Installation view, Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, 2016.
Courtesy the artists; Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris; Rodeo Gallery, London
Christodoulos Panayiotou
Price of Copper no. 4, 2016
Copper cathode, pump, water jets and hose, bucket, dimensions variable. Installation view, Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, 2016.
Courtesy the artist; Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris; Rodeo Gallery, London

Philip Wiegard
Square Dance, 2016
Glue paint on non-woven wallpaper, dimension variable
Installation view, Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, 2016. Courtesy the artist
Nine to Five
5 March - 22 May 2016

The Kunstverein Nürnberg is pleased to present an exhibition by Philip Wiegard (*1977, Schwetzingen, Germany) and Christodoulos Panayiotou (*1978, Limassol, Cyprus).

For Kunstverein Nürnberg the two artists have developed a joint exhibition – resulting from a long friendship and collaboration – that unites their common interest in structures of value creation and representation in human labour processes. The exhibition title Nine to Five refers to the typical work schedule for office employees, as well as the eponymous Hollywood comedy from 1980 and its theme song by country singer Dolly Parton. In the film, the post-Fordist principle of increased productivity that emerged in the 1970s is explored along various social hierarchies: between employer and employee, men and women, consumers and producers. The influence of working conditions on identity and the prevailing labour theory of value in regards to goods and services are the starting points of the exhibition by Philip Wiegard and Christodoulos Panayiotou.

Around these subjects, the artists bring together new and existing works at the Kunstverein and focus on different transformations of economic values. This also includes a reflection on their own artistic practice in relation to the tradition of conceptual art. For example, the exhibition announcement on the invitation card was an ironic performative act carried out according to the artists’ instructions by the curator using a typewriter. In their work, the artists draw on in-depth research on current and historical manufacturing processes and renegotiate current issues of authorship through conceptual shifts.

For some time now, Philip Wiegard has conducted performative workshops with children and teenagers, which address production conditions from preindustrial times to the present day. During the carnival holidays from February 8 to 11, 2016, Wiegard had organized a temporary workshop at the Kunstverein, in which 15- and 16-year-old teens produced the patterns on the wallpaper that is now mounted on the walls in the large gallery hall. During each of Wiegard’s workshops, and under his supervision, the young participants produce textile fibre wallpapers by applying a historic handpainted paper finishing technique. Unlike pedagogical workshops that tend to focus on individual creativity, here the teens take part in a full-value artwork manufacturing process, and receive payment for their work. The grid-like pattern is created in repetitive steps, echoing industrial production methods.

Despite the prescribed technique, however, individual signatures and errors remain recognizable, and thus the wallpaper pieces always draw attention to the humans behind the working process. Through the payment of the young producers (according to §6 of the Youth Worker Protection Act), the artist also casts a critical look at the precarious working conditions prevalent in today’s creative industries.

Wiegard designed the square pattern of the new wallpaper in the large gallery hall according to the golden ratio, in response to the modernist, New Objectivity-style architecture of the Milchhof Building, in which the Kunstverein Nürnberg resides. The work, titled Square Dance (2016), visually stores in its grid lines the labour hours and the specific choreography of each of its four young workers. Wiegard’s large-format work Spalier, which was created by five artists during a performance at Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin (2011), and the wallpaper Überfließband, produced during his Kids’ Factory project at Gallery M in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Berlin (2015), were likewise created according to the artist’s predefined instructions. In contrast, the pattern for the drawing 9to5 (2011) was carried out by the artist himself over a period of 8 continuous hours. Its juxtaposition with the team-produced wallpaper highlights the often-fluid transition between authorship and assistance in the contemporary art system.

In his works, Christodoulos Panayiotou addresses the variability of economic and symbolic values, and the impact these have on cultural traditions and identities. He activates personally, culturally and historically significant materials and artefacts and transforms them into art works by adding another layer of narration to their original function. The work Untitled (2016) belongs to a series of custom-made shoes produced from used leather and leatherette purses of women close to him. This artistic commission triggers an increase in value that transforms the serially produced handbags into a handmade luxury, and ultimately into a sculptural art object. Panayiotou similarly addresses this notion of value exchange in his work Pulp (2016), in which discarded US dollar bill misprints were recycled into a sheet of monochrome paper. In addition to other works, in the Price of Copper, no. 4 (2016) a single cathode of copper in its raw material form is transformed into an improvised fountain. The work makes reference to the economic history of the island of Cyprus – from whose name the Latin word for copper, cuprum, is derived – as well as to the current shortage of copper on the world market, and the representative significance of the fountain, which since antiquity has been used indoors as a symbol for prosperity and wealth. At the same time, the title of Panayiotou’s work is borrowed from the Der Messingkauf parable (often translated as Price of Copper) by Bertolt Brecht. In his story about a client who wants to buy a trumpet because he is only interested in the metal, Brecht emphasises the differences between the material value and the added value of cultural goods.

Finally, the artists unify their artistic practice in the drawing Untitled (2014), which is presented in the last exhibition space. The work was created in the context of the their project The Permeability of Certain Matters at the Spring Workshop exhibition space in Hong Kong, 2014. In several of his works, Panayiotou has been concerned with the historical tradition of ballet and with stage directions for the realization of his projects. In a dance phrase choreographed by Panayiotou, six girls step simultaneously across a sheet of paper that has been smeared with distemper paint. The pattern layout was conceptualized before by Wiegard using colored wallpaper paste. The work could be seen as embodying an interwoven, collective production process – from the decision concerning the formal starting point, to the concept of the dance movements, and the execution by the young performers.

Tags: Christodoulos Panayiotou