FIND OUT about Leipzig´s off art scene!


Leipzig, June 2007. When one first arrives in Leipzig, one cannot help to notice the empty streets filled with empty buildings. Downtown´s XIX century flavor contrasts with Leipzig´s urban industrial periphery filled with suburban and often abandoned buildings in badly illuminated quarters. The beautiful German word “Werkstatt“ finds here a bitter taste. One is often reminded of the high unemployment rate and how people moved to the west in search of work and how ownership became difficult to ascertain after the war and GDR times. Today getting a degree in Leipzig remains one very attractive option for students all over. Indeed, from its urban plan to its social condition, Leipzig is city of passages.

Last weekend and once again, Leipzig has won my heart. For thirteen editions in a row, GalerieRieRiemann organized a twenty four hour exhibition taking over this time around the usually deserted Industriearmaturenwerk in the Karl-Heine Straße 85. For twenty four hours in a row and under the motto “Kunst ist kein Spass” (Art is no fun), this industrial building housed works in all mediums, from people all ages, nationalities and very different levels of quality. Such process and history can be followed under:

The result was an off exhibition that had the merit of escaping already institutionalized exhibition practices in Leipzig. Even if everything was joined together – just as in heaven! -, still its longing for the experimental, the unfinished, its the wish to achieve new insights and to approach proposals with an open mind cannot but to be praised.
Despite the very different levels of quality of the works presented, the outcome effect of the whole thing surely surpassed some boring and phony performative and conceptual works that laid among – which, truth be said, are even worse than just bad painting or just bad sculpture!

Torsten Pfeffer´s paintings for instance, were a positive surprise. They made me think of David Hockney´s work, renewing one´s hopes in the fascination painting can hold over the viewer still. Or, Schmitzkatz, that presented the best installation at the show. “Den Klang des Altags auf der Spur”, was conceived as a black corridor, with different hidden TV sets that successively screened images in synchrony to an audio background in which the viewer could, for instance, hear someone washing their teeth and see its respective visual referent.
Susi Sohnen Kalb´s “Kreativitäter”, made of intertwined plastic forks, introduced an humorous note finding a new and entertaining use for a discard and highly pollutive material.

Susi Sohnen Kalb, Kreativitäter, 2007

On its turn, Zwen Gras´sensuous installation “TekTekTek” (Europe), on the events occurred during “czechtek 05”, a Tecnomusic festival that exists for 10 years already in the Czech Republic, introduced the perfect guerrilla note to go with the show´s spirit. This piece is voicing urban political resistance by testifying how:

“7000 people were dancing. After the first night 1000 policemen also joined the party, armed with smoke-bombs, teargas and water guns trying to clear the place with unreasonable hardness. The fight hold on for 3 days. An orgy with drugs and violence lasting for several days“.

Of a more quiet and poetic tone, Rolf Arnold´s interesting view shots and montage technique could be seen in diverse photographs – “Das Reh” being specially beautiful and dreamy.
Performed as if for the stage, Ginan Sedl presented a film on which a doll is stuffed with hair and is to be seen fighting with another doll. It seemed to reflect how women see and relate between and with themselves. Its slight dramatic and desperation tone could be said to recall Ana Mendieta´s work and Warhol´s “Lupe” from 1965, depicting the actress just before her death.

Ginan Seidl, Film, 2007

Several works took on the motto of the show as their own title, Konstantinos Goutos´ short film played exactly on that showing how every nationality can come together when it comes to the most basic things, as playing, having fun and laughing.

Konstantinos Goutos, Spaß ist kein Kunst, 2007

Next to families taking their Saturday walkabout, jealous art students who just didn´t-thought-of-it, and all sort of curious and art lovers, everybody had a great time. And some of the works were really refreshing and in agreement with the off scene spirit of the whole thing.

Nicolai Manenti, Dartwork, 2007 Silm et fb, Function, 2007

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