Speech at the Opening of DIE DINGE 2 – THE THINGS 2
on Gut Geisendorf on August 25th, 2012
Have you ever asked yourself how often you talk about things, when and why you bring things into play, why the things are as they are, or how many things a person needs, which ones, for what, and for how long?
What is happening here at Gut Geisendorf until October 7th, is the first continuation of a journey into the world of things to which the GEDOK Brandenburg is inviting you. Prelude for the multi-parted interdisciplinary art project THE THINGS was our exhibition at the Castle and the Park of Altranft in Oderbruch from Pentecost through the end of July.
I will now help you to become familiar with the project itself and with what to expect here.
The idea of the project THE THINGS comes from the artist Gertraude Pohl. The background was the desire to find a very broad topic which should respond to as many female artists as possible. This was followed by a call for proposals addressed to the artists of the GEDOK Brandenburg. The ones who were interested in the subject could invite guests who, as well as everybody else, had to apply with their projects and were selected by an independent jury.
Within this whole project there was another important aspect. As the National Association of Brandenburg in the nationwide community network of artists and art supporters we wanted to be reflected in various regions of Brandenburg. In this respect, from the beginning we were interested in special locations:
the castle as residence and place of representation, now farm or manor house as erstwhile center of rural life and economic activity. As we desire, an abbey will follow next year as a location of culture and contemplation as well as the old tobacco storehouse in Schwedt. All these locations have lost their original function over time and are now well known cultural locations with their own history. These various regional junctions and contexts are of essential meaning to THE THINGS, and this also refers to Geisendorf.
Please take a look outside; a colorful chain stands out. At first it makes you think of tiny excavator shovels, then it becomes obvious what they are about. Like a trace, the chain leads from the farm house through the terrain across meadows and mounds directly to the surface mining. In some places it stops, then it is there again, just like a trace that disappears and shows up again, silting up and becoming visible once more.
This chain made of 2,400 colorfully dyed clay flower pots connected by 180 meters of rope is the installation work of Sophie Natuschke. It was specially conceived for the project THE THINGS 2 and was uniquely installed on Gut Geisendorf (Sorbian: Gižkojce). The flower pots themselves and the way they were applied by the artist in this place have a symbolic character. The clay comes from the earth, it is soil or ground material. In a traditional way it gives us of the image of good soil, of becoming and growing, of nurturing as well as the pleasure of thriving of something that we enjoy being surrounded by and that feels good.
If the flower pot is being ignored, if the soil is not being watered or if the pot breaks, hence, in the figurative sense if it is not being taken care of, it won’t take long until it all goes to waste. With her installation ”Gute Erde Gižkojce – Good Soil Gižkojce“, Sophie Natuschke sets a sensitive sign for awareness.
To undertake this apparently paradoxical seeming temporary artistic intervention in this very place – in the context of the ambivalences of own memories, historical legacies, natural conditions, landscape altering interventions, and not least economic interests – disturbs fixed perceptions in a cheerful and contemplative way. As performance in this area that subsists on mining, the installation is an impressive example for how regional references are catalysts for creative action, but through the self-contained artistic formulation in their statement they open a dimension that takes effect beyond the regional frame.
The glass artist Angela Willeke picks up the vicinity of the daylight mine as an unusual visual challenge in a completely different way. She converts rusty screws, metal plates, and steel cables from the mining together with the age-old glass obtained from quartz sand of local soil to unique esthetic objects, and thus transfers the things that are useful for the degradation process into a completely new value level. The virtuosic mode in which Angela Willeke handles her very own material glass is fascinating. Who crochets glass, or who grasps such artistic windings? But not only this: Impressive is her artistic concept to whirl fixed visions of shape and appearance of glass in contrast of seemingly non-compatible materials, and thus expand the view for new esthetic horizons of consideration. Her objects on the upper level are impressive examples for that. They show how bizarre it is about the things: just now unnoticed and worthless, then turned to value object through attentiveness, appreciation, fantasy, and artistic ability.
Things are, one way or another, tangible or not. They change and run their course, sometimes in an unimagined way. They can be shocking or enchanting, they make happy or sadden, encourage or hinder, they are curious, virtuoso, odd. Things develop within space, for example within this between people. Ties develop and fall to pieces again, they are interlaced or torn up like in the paintings of Edda Krullmann. For Sylvia Hagen “Der Lauf der Dinge – The Course of Events” is also the course of time. In her bronze sculptures a development of vibrations and cracks becomes sensually tangible as a plastic form and it becomes a sign for a status and its transformation. Signs are also an issue for the painter Marianne Gielen. ”Zeichen setzen – Setting Signs“ as a cultural need of humans at all times is her subject. The hand that sets signs or is drawing is in every respect an expression of a certain physical motor function but also of a mental-cultural as well as psychological state of mind. The stream of lines that grows out of the drawing motion of the hand with the overlaying and condensing pictorial trails at the same time becomes a sign for the alienation of meditative energies. In this respect signs are testimonies. They tell stories as well as things do, personal ones and those that are known by many and therefore shared with each other.
The work of Christine Przybilski also belongs to this context. With her seven ”Notfalltaschen – Emergency Bags“ she refers to a certain situation: After the catastrophe in Fukushima the people were evacuated from the affected areas. Inside special plastic bags sized 70×50 cm they were allowed to take along personal things. Under suchlike pressure of time the question is: What things does a person need in a world in which almost everything can be received at almost any time, or what is really important? And this is a challenge in the interplay of inner and outer freedom.
Even the more than twenty small-sized anvil prints by*CG Große* that are mounted on canvas and displayed together for the first time on Gut Geisendorf are like an immersion into the world of the things of life. One can find greedy claws that aggressively fall into the picture, but also imposing signs, to follow one’s own instincts, find one’s own ways self-determinedly and thereby now and then move against the current. Continually relations to other people play a role: to the mother, to the opposite sex, to the own child, including solitude and desire.
As we see: One and the same thing can thus be symbol or sign, souvenir, commodity, object of desire, relict or evidence for something certain. It solely depends on the approach and on the context, as the things receive their sense through us. That way, apparently marginal things can suddenly become important against the background of a momentary awareness of life and the own artistic experience in shaping. An expression of that are Franziska Uhl‘s “Odertorsi”. In driftwoods, that are completely uninteresting and worthless for others, she discovered shape correspondences with etchings that were created earlier. The pleasure of sight here not only interlinks with the fortune of the findings. It becomes the source of inspiration and is the confirmation of her intuitive artistic perception of form through the sculptures created by nature.
Astrid Weichelt observes the world of things in a very different way. In her works the divine and the trivial meet in an amusing way. Athene mutates into cat feast, Apollo is name giver for dog food as well as for opticians. Once Zeus sat on the Olympus. Nowadays the ordinary mortal is happy when he is able to use an Olymp-mobile toilet in the highest of all distress. With the collection of objects and her photo works, Astrid Weichelt moves the abnormal and the strange into the visual field. She does not only show the promotionally effective adaption of the Greek world of Gods in the present time, but simultaneously refers to the pragmatically oriented intrepidity in contemporary dealing with the things. But, as the phrase goes: hope is the last to die, or maybe every once in a while someone wonders why anti chalk tabs of all things have to be called Hercules? It remains to be seen whether this is a good way for unconventional, modern advertising.
So what are the things, where is their evident nature?
The various artistic contributions that create the framework for the project THE THINGS show:
Things acquire many different meanings and coherences. They are realistically comprehensible, nevertheless they also evade a precise definition.
The things are testimonies of history and presence and they are firmly anchored in our everyday life. Just think of all the common phrases: As we say: every stick has two ends, and all good things go by three. Everybody is doing his thing etc. We are talking about the course or the state of things and call something an “un-thing” (absurdity). When we stand above “the things” (it all), we also know that “good things need time”. You often hear the phrase on the merits of the “things” (case), or something is an impossible thing to do. And because sometimes “things are not right” it depends on “getting to the bottom of things”. We are in good spirits (about things) and we enjoy any however natured thingamabob. After all, there are the things that define a person, that are important to her and that concern her.
What knowledge lies in contemplation, preservation, in using, value and in the things themselves will always remain subjective and will be dependent on the experience in the course of life, on traditions and social conditioning. It can therefore be meaningful how something felt, what it looked like, what it smelled like, how it tasted or sounded. Things of that kind can be attracting or repulsive. But this means nothing but that the things are symbols of meaning as long as we ourselves give them a meaning.
In an impressive variety the participating female artists, authors, and musicians will surrender the cosmos of things. With their artistic contributions in the exhibition, the musical program in the afternoon, the reading for children at 2 p.m., and the readings in the evening, today we experience a wide range of individual positions, shapes, and varieties regarding the view on things.
In order to visualize the creators, I would now like to introduce the present artists to you:
Gertraude Pohl as the source of ideas of the project
Marianne Gielen, Catrin Große, Edda Krullmann, Sophie Natuschke, Franziska Uhl, Astrid Weichelt, Angela Willeke
Christine Anlauff, Ulrike Liedtke, Christa Müller, René Schmidt, Carmen Winter, Yvonne Zitzmann
Benjamin Strauß, Sabine Völker, Tjark Völker, Caroline Wegener.
I wish to thank the artists for their commitment and in particular for their confidence despite of all the uncertainty, for sticking to it and for being willing to run quite some risks during the preparation.
We owe to Mr. Siegfried Laumen of Gut Geisendorf and to the company Vattenfall that the artists of the GEDOK Brandenburg can be guests here now.
Important for the realization of the THINGS-project was, however, the promotion of the Minister President of the State of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, together with the MWFK (Ministry of Science, Research and Culture) and the MASGF (Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Women’s Affairs and Family). The interest of the Federal State is expressed through the patronage of the project by the Minister of Culture, Sabine Kunst.
I would also like to emphasize the significant promotion of the
Ostdeutsche Sparkassenstiftung together with the Sparkasse Märkisch-Oderland.
I wish to express my special thanks to our private contributors and supporters, without their help it would have never been possible to raise the financial part that is always necessary for any kind of promotion.
I wish to thank Dorit Bearach who was a great support while preparing and organizing the exhibition.
And again I wish to express my gratitude to Siegfried Laumen of Gut Geisendorf for all the help and support during preparation and the very well and, above all, reliable collaboration.
I would like to invite you here and now to the
presentation of the catalogue
(including the pictures of the just recently finished installation of Sophie Natuschke) on Sunday, September 16th, at 3 p.m on Gut Geisendorf.