Reinhard Hauff

Living With Art

13 Apr - 18 Jun 2012

13 April - 18 June, 2012

„Living With Art“ at the Galerie Reinhard Hauff is the first in a series of three exhibitions converting the gallery space into a surreal domestic setting where every piece of furniture, every architectural or decorative feature leads a double life as art (artistic statement) and design object-Thing. Through pieces from 1980 until today which cross over from the purely aesthetic and formal art work status into the optionally functional, useful and practical – and vice versa – we engage with works which examine and redefine the status of the object in art as part of the creative process and interact in a provocative visual dialogue with other pieces cohabiting this imaginary domestic landscape.

Appropriation runs as a red thread through most of the display, emphasising the absurd, the playful, the critical, the dada moment and spirit. Furnishing and memorabilia are created by artists who strip the found objects they incorporate as building material into their works of their usual purpose and give them a new job significance, perverting their use value while upgrading their status to Art. Some furniture sculptures, like John M. Armleder’s „AH (Enil Aekat), FS“, 2006, juxtaposing a leather Heberli chair with a monochrome silver coloured painting, employ icons of metro-chic status to invite – yet forbid – actual usage. The „Amazing“-wedding dress and coat by Sylvie Fleury, 2001, is now an electric light sculpture—a relic of a performance involving a dress. Other works like the conceptual dress „Multiple Clothing—Open System“, 1992, by British artist Stephen Willats, and the „Phantom Audience“ vodka dispenser sculpture by FOS encourage participation. Artists like Richard Artschwager and Haim Steinbach, Sylvie Fleury and Josephine Meckseper upgrade the banal and worthless to glamourised cult objects through boutique display scenography, as in Steinbach’s 1986 Shelf „Untitled“, here juxtaposed with Meckseper’s „Shelf Nr. 37“ from 2007. In these works, the fetishisation of goods and symbols provoke a critical discourse on the convergence of consumption, politics and fashion in an interior decoration context. Next to a group of Sylvie Fleury luxury shopping bags „Dallas“, 2012, Gregory Schneider’s „Mattress No. 14 (Rheydt)“, 2008, creates associations of homelessness and alienation. In „Langue/ Parole/ Fenster“, 1997, conceptual artist Thomas Locher converts a large window in aluminium frames to philosophical/ psychological/ political message filters between the interior and the exterior. Bright, coloured coffee table furniture pieces „Sineflam 3409“, 1987, by Thomas Grünfeld employ a living green plant, as a stand in for the (absent) artist. Mark Dion also uses plants in his horticultural sculpture „Nursery“, 2007, – a spectacular, fantastical object with a palm in a baby stroller. In a playful corner, Martin Kippenberger’s children’s chair „Réservé“, 1989, and the Canadian artist duo Hadley + Maxwell’s gigantic favourite-toy portrait „Noah“, 2006, are kept safe & sound with „Sweet Dreams Security“ fences by London based Matthias Megyeri, whose safety curtain is also on display. „Diversions, Deviations, Disjunctions, Dissimmetries, – Like or After ‚Double Self Portrait‘“, is a reference to a 1979 Jeff Wall image, and the title of Lasse Schmidt Hansen’s 2010 version of the armchair in the Wall piece. It sums up his artistic approach, where furniture pieces such as „Uro“, 2006, have been liberated from their original function or significance.

A group of works in „Living With Art“ quote old master paintings and antiques: Shannon Bool’s „Memling Carpet“, 2010, woven to reproduce the oriental carpet visible on the table top in Hans Memling’s „Flower Still Life“, 1490, in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Dutch 17th century still lifes put back to life in Pia Martin’s 2003 video trilogy „Vivace“, and the medieval Madonna installation „The Figure“, 2010, by Hadley + Maxwell. Together with the 18th century style Chinoiserie Panels for „Dallas Dining Room“, 2006/2010, these works vest “Old” objects, signs and symbols with “New” content. Obfuscating the boundaries between art and fashion, Meckseper’s „Rug # 1“, 2003, covering the floor in a gigantic palestinian scarf carpet, takes a loaded symbol and reloads it, while Viron Vert’s „Aid Air Mail, Berlin Istanbul“, silk scarves contribute an intelligent and chic comment to the Muslim headscarf debate. Like Megyeri’s security fence, the „Aid Air Mail, Berlin Istanbul“ scarves were recently shown at Colette in Paris, and are a must-have fashion accessory. Controversial Danish artist Uwe Max Jensen cleverly combines two completely unrelated iconographic “symbols” – that of Fontana and Hitchcock – in a series of compositions titled „Lucio Fontana Cuts Transferred to a Shower Curtain“, 2003.

In the table, chair and video installation „Begin Again“, 2007, by the acclaimed American multi-media and performance artist Joan Jonas, the artist is seen in her countryhome performing with various decorative objects and mirrors from her own collection – often used as props in her performances and as inspiration for her works on paper. Wolfgang Flad’s wooden sculptures are also furniture: A filigrane, polychrome door and the chair „Krisenstuhl“, 2012, but French New York artist Anne-Lise Coste makes her position clear in one of her watercolours on view which says: „I’m not a palm tree. I’m not a design table. I’m not a novel sentence“, 2002.

The Galerie Reinhard Hauff wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the artists participating in the show and to Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen, Galerie Luis Campana, Berlin, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zürich, Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, Galerie Kadel Willborn, Karlsruhe, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Achim and Petra Kubinsky and Adnan Yildiz for their collaboration and support.

Tags: John M. Armleder, Richard Artschwager, Shannon Bool, Anne-Lise Coste, Mark Dion, Wolfgang Flad, Sylvie Fleury, Lucio Fontana, FOS, Thomas Grünfeld, Hadley+Maxwell, Al Hansen, Lasse Schmidt Hansen, Joan Jonas, Martin Kippenberger, Thomas Locher, Josephine Meckseper, Haim Steinbach, Jeff Wall, Stephen Willats