artists & participants
Special Thanks to Daniel Seiple, Bettina Lamprecht, Franziska Böhmer, Thomas Kilpper, Lena Ziese, Elisabeth Byre, Martin Braathen, Tsvika Solan and Andreas Warisz. In 1990 the artist John Miller, in a series of four short polemics, introduced the supplies of art as “Flubber”. In the Disney film by the same name, an ‘at home scientist’ creates an affectionate small green blob that can readily assume any form with plastic ease. In each case, an idea of ‘material’, be that at its rawest or highest form of synthesis, undergoes a process of malleability, where the presentation of these transformation results in a changing and modifying state of (self ) -destruction, -appropriation and -reconstruction.
In much the same way that Miller and Disney’s versions of Flubber are used to describe the work of art or the work of science, all together now follows their unassuming postulation and calls the processes of exhibition making; the site of exhibitions themselves, and the unfolding of unintended curatorial projections another version of Miller and Disney’s Flubber - an “ever-renewable special [green] stuff.”
For this one night exhibition, an extension of previously embarked and henceforth ‘closing’ shows are brought together rather randomly to enlist, albeit momentarily, the dubious feeling of something new, mismatched with something old. Rather than endorsing the market forces of overproduction and the self-perpetuating new, which lurk in enough encounters of contemporary art, the interest turns to the significance of repetition and reusing. The presentation of art in this surplus context , like that of late capitalism, dupes us into believing that something fresh is there for the uptake, when in reality the freshness of this allure has more to do with its renewing location: an extension of place and audience. In adjusting the focus, all together now’s suggested exit plan, disembarks from the expectation to work and produce new concepts and readings, objects and projects.
Upon entering Berlin’s now-iconic landscape of artist-run-spaces, off-spaces, projektraums, wohnung spaces, some long-standing others more temporary, the on-going allure of these ‘alternative spaces’ are presented, again and again, through recent publications and projects like FuckingGoodArt, 032c, Texte zur Kunst, Of Mice and Men BB4, and www.you-kunst.de. From artists, curators or cultural writers, these current discussions have aimed to either provide an insider’s guide to a hidden city or to comment and critique the diverse and often contrary functions of these spaces, particularly against a discourse of historic practices, largely focused on self-organisation, representation, alternative and critical works, and a need for network building.
To challenge this alluring mythology of Berlin as a city full of ‘satellites’ or micro-communities working along side one another like parallel lines that never meet, all together now was interested in setting up a contrived spirit of community. The exhibition title implies a harmony and homogeneity that is at odds with the marketable phrases referring to ‘underground communities’ or the ‘diverse cultural landscape’. Since an open ‘construction’ of community may be seen as the perfect counter to this rhetoric, the strategy of borrowing work that had either recently been exhibited or was strongly linked to other exhibition spaces was put into place. This implication of an arbitrary connectedness was tossed out with the onset of mass cosmopolitanism and the realization that McLuhan’s ‘global village’ may not be the dream we’re searching for after all. Instead what seems more interesting is the prospect of a more complex picture of community that operates between the extremes of the small and exclusive elite and the prescribed and united collective, allowing for a degree of overlap and exchange as well as individual specificity and distinction.
After the initial invitation for artists, artworks and exhibition spaces to come together, an additional route of arbitrariness was needed to inform their representation. The usual decision making processes of curatorial selection underwent re-negotiation according to a preference for acknowledging the varying positions of those involved: the wohnung space Homie, the artist-run space after the butcher, and the project space JET.
The limits of arbitrary selection – for Homie the selection of a recent performance; for after the butcher the selection of one entire wall and one free standing sculpture; and for JET the selection of an unseen recommendation – become markers, much like a trail of breadcrumbs, connecting the relocation and remodification of these works (and spaces) to their past and present influences. In this way the exhibition format is not seen as an end in itself and representation is positioned as an extension of the informal connections or more structured imperatives that makes work and people come together. Fiona Bate and Joel Mu
“Flubber: The true formal revolution. Well in advance of the camera, the materials and processes of art undergo a certain Fordism, if not Taylorism – right down to the last camel’s-hair brush and the last tube of Windosor-Newton. Indeed, even the artwork’s subject matter, i.e., the world, is overtaken by the assembly line. Just as the achievements of the previous generation become as escalated second nature for the next, so existent artworks join the ranks of older “raw materials”, that is, things taken as givens – from studies and homages to junk sculpture, collage and montage to deconstruction and appropriation. Analogously, the prowess of the Sadean hero lies in the fantast of ever-renewable “special stuff ” from which this figure is modeled. He lets the entire universe go to hell with this pathetic alibi: “I can’t be bought. I can’t be bought.”
- Miller, John, ‘Art Supplies and Utopias’, The Price Club: Selected Writings, (1977-1998), from the Positions series, edited by Lionel Bovier, Geneva/Dijon, 2000, pp. 85-87.
“The title of the exhibition, ‘Friends and Enemies’, refers to the numerous communities and partnerships in Berlin that rarely commingle or collaborate with each other: the exhibition brings together three of these distinct scenes in the modest space of Gagosian Gallery.” - ‘Friend and Enemies’, press release, Gagosian Gallery, Berlin Biennale, 2006.
“Homie is pleased to announce a collaborative exhibition by Jon Brumit, Lee Montogomery and Sarah Wagner (San Francisco, USA). The exhibition title, Lepidopterists or ‘butterfly collectors’, refers to the group’s ongoing investigation and practice of collecting, studying and archiving “things” which are in a state of metamorphosis. At Homie they will present and perform select collections which include everything from crafty objects to natural phenomena and recorded conversations to obscure and indistinct sounds. The show will consist of an installation, opening night performances, and a live weblog (www.concepturalart. org/lepidopterists) which itself operates as a mutable public collection of ideas and stories.
The exhibition marks the group’s first appearance in Berlin. Their collections and research will expand and grow through their interactions with the city and its inhabitants. Homie, which will also serve as the group’s temporary home, will operate as a depository where stories and fragments are suggested and performed through the amassment of information, conversation, objects and sounds. The project continues the artists’ collective interest in public art, community radio, environmental research, net art and performance.” - Sieple, Daniel, ‘Lepidopterists’, taken from the exhibition statement and gallery notes, 2006, see http://homie.travelhome.org.
“For the inaugural show we invited many friends and artists we personally know. Its title ‘Concrete, Sausage and Other Team Ghosts’ refers to two aspects - the history of the house and the football world championship. after the butcher is a project space by artists for artists. Those invited to do a show will be asked to develop a work for the space. The showroom will be an opportunity and platform to present work of not so well-know artists.” - Böhmer, Franziska and Kilpper, Thomas, ‘Concrete, Sausage and other Team Ghosts’, (2006), taken from exhibition statement and gallery notes, 2006, see http://www.after- the- butcher.de
“JET is an exhibition space founded by Lena Ziese in Berlin Mitte in September 2005. At a central location near Alexanderplatz, JET compliments the range of galleries in the immediate vicinity by providing an exhibition space whose program is shaped by a series of guest curators. As a special feature, the first year’s shows at JET share a common theme: WAS WÄRE WENN (What If ?), enquiring into visions and alternative scenarios for personal and social problems. With this series of exhibitions, JET challenges the invited artists to combine a critical analysis of the present with utopian, playful or absurd views of the future.”
only in german
HOMIE, Berlin, after the butcher, Berlin und Jet, Berlin präsentieren:
gemeinsam / all together now
Kuratoren: Fiona Bate & Joel Mu
Ort: Projekt 0047 Berlin (0047 Oslo)
Künstler: Endre Aalrust, Mohamed Abdullah, Ole Martin Lund Bo , Jon Brumit, Kerstin Cmelka, Heide Deigert, Jochen Flinzer, Undine Goldberg, Anne Kaminsky, Katharina Karrenberg, Caroline Krause, Janne Lervik, Stefan Mannel, Lee Montgomery, Hans Petri, Laure Prouvost, Jens Risch, Nora Schultz, Sarah Staton, Astrid Stricker, Sarah Wagner, Susanne Winterling, Lena Ziese