100109: Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin: Cult of the artist: „ I can’t just slice off an ear every day“. Deconstructing the myth of the artist

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin: Cult of the artist: „ I can’t just slice off an ear every day“. Deconstructing the myth of the artist Deconstructing the myth Within a total selection of 10 exhibitions of the Berlin State Museums the slogan „Cult of the artist“ marks the end of Director Peter Klaus Schuster’s time in office. On this occasion, the Hamburger Bahnhof is showing – next to a large Beuys retrospective and an Andy Warhol show – another exhibition with reference to this topic at the Rieckhallen. The group exhibit with works from the Friedrich Christian Flick, Erich Marx, and Egidio Marzona collections functions as the necessary deconstruction of myths. Consequently the exhibition organizers fell back on a dashing work title by Martin Kippenberger. With reference to the last bow this could, however, also have been an invention by the curators: “I can’t just slice off an ear every day“. The title circles around the tragic downside of the artist’s cult: the everlasting pressure to produce something new and to always be witty and aesthetically innovative. Differing concepts intensify this phenomenon. Marcel Duchamp’s readymade Porte-bouteilles (Bottle Rack 1914) mark the starting point. The naming and presentation of a commercially available bottle dryer characterizes a weighty gesture, which considered the artistic action more important than the object itself. The cult-like worshipping of an art object was questioned, but this act enabled an artist to revive as a genius. Duchamp’s approach in different areas takes shape within a wide spectrum ranging from parody and seriousness: Marcel Broothaers is filmed while he signs his works without letting anybody see his hand; Bruce Nauman’s neon-lit name shines contorted from a wall, and Martin Kippenberger leaves the completion of Heavy Burschi (1989 – 91) to his assistant. The myths of the individual creation by the artist or the exclusive authorship are thereby deconstructed. In contrast to the other exhibits of the Berlin State Museums, here women are given a chance. They mainly thwart the male art genius, whose prototype is presented with Paul McCarthy’s phallic parody of Jackson Pollock with his Penis Dip Painting (1974). Cindy Sherman’s role-playing, poses, and masquerades are contrasted with Rodney Graham’s figures within the same room. Explorations of female identity continue in Valie Export’s Aktionshose or lead back to a stereotype femininity image in Pipilotti Rist’s video work. Following an impressive amount of established positions, one reaches a dead end in the rear parts of the Rieckhalls: Where do we go from here? asks Ugo Rondinone with four video projected clowns. This commentary, embedded into the ambivalence of a ridiculed artist figure and the weariness of attempting to amuse the audience, does make one think. 70 picture frames, whose production Maria Eichhorn has left to others, accompany you on the long way back to the main hall. Based on the deconstruction of myths, she is also one of those who know how an artist can really be created. Seen this way, the exhibition is also a collection of highly remunerated works. And the collectors know that they, by all means, must be part of their holdings. Marianne Wagner Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin 10557 Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 50 – 51, until 23. 02. 09 www.hamburgerbahnhof. de

Hamburger Bahnhof - Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
10557 Berlin, Invalidenstraße 50- 51
Tel: +49 30 266424242
Öffnungszeiten: Di, Mi, Fr10-18, Do 10-20, Sa, So 11-18 h

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