atb #09 | Confiscated: Rolf Heißler

Curated by Joachim Baur


Objects from the Prison
Curated by Joachim Baur

Opening: Friday, October 26, 2007, from 7pm

Exhibition: October 27 – November 17, 2007
open Thu, Fr, Sa 3 – 7pm and by appointment +49 (0)179 947 30 40

Sunday October, 28 – 6 pm conversation with Rolf Heißler
Thursday November, 1 – 7 pm conversation with curator Joachim Baur
(in cooperation with “Schnittpunkt Berlin” – exhibition theory & practice)

Rolf Heißler was a member of the German guerilla group, the Red Army Faction – RAF. During his 22 years imprisonment from 1979-2001 his mail was monitored and about 2000 mails confiscated. Using examples of these objects, this exhibition focuses on the struggle for control, for communication between ‘in’ and ‘out’, and the diverse projections under the conditions of isolation. The show throws an unusual – at least an uncommon – glance at the long history of confrontation between the RAF, the state and the political movement.

A red plastic clove, dried orange peel, countless pamphlets, mussels, dried flowers, sparklers, newspaper cuttings, posters, postcards, socks, a kid’s drawing, lavender… the most different things were sent to Rolf Heißler during his 22 years in prison but they all had one thing in common: confiscation. At first glance many items seem unimpressive, you might wonder, ‘Why was this sent’ or, ‘Why was it withheld’?
At second glance the conditions of isolation and solitary confinment can be discerned, as can the attempts to break through this closed circuit.
The objects are sediments of the prison regulations and visible witnesses of a panoptical / an omnipotent prison regime based on excluding sensual perceptions. They stand for persistent attemps to develop some sort of relationship and communication between ‘in-‘ and ‘outside’. They reveal manifold forms of projection – from the state declaring the most banal objects ‘dangerous’ to what the prisoner’s acquaintances thought would best meet his needs.

Almost daily, they demonstrate a long-standing, constant struggle for control: from the authorities over ‘law and order’ in jail – from the prisoner over his life. Heißler’s position as an acting subject within this conflict of censorship and confiscation is evident. Countless letters of complaint and a file listing and annotating all confiscations show his strategy of a ‘control of the control’.
Last but not least appear in these withheld mails – like in a multiple broken mirror – the social and political movements of the 80’s and 90’s with their themes, discussions and activities: international solidarity movement, squatting, anti-fascism, anti-war- and feminist movements, protest against census and social inequality.
On unusual terrain these objects unfold a complex triangular relationship between state, social movement and a prisoner from the RAF.

atb #07 | Pinxit

Charlotte Cullinan + Jeannine Richards, artlab London – ,PINXIT‘

Opening: June 15 from 7pm, Exhibition: June 16 – July 7, 2007
open Friday and Saturday 3-7pm or by appointment

We hoped we might be able to find something positive to say about this show, and we have.
The more thought we give to PINXIT, by Cullinan+Richards, the more our desire to salvage something of value from their misadventure increases, fueled by familiarity, neat reasoning and formal travesty. In its attempt to engage in highly complex intellectual and eccentric debate PINXITopens up vast chasms between the drab actuality of the objects on show and the arrogant and shaky theoretical assertions knowingly proposed by the artists.
Cullinan+Richards are making an ‘ongoing work concerning an imagined history for these objects’, exploring ‘duplicity, doubling, betrayal and desire PINXITconsists of a script made of neon lights giving off a harsh orange glow reading ‘Et Tu’, five paintings of a male torso, and a film.
The discrepancy between the objects and accompanying assertions seems to be used here as a model for the relationship between the viewer and the artists. Taped to the glass, Neon Window (2007) spells the words ‘Et Tu’, could this refer to the fact that the paintings are actually made by someone else in 1973, and the film made in America in the 1920’s, and thus a betrayal of the viewers trust?
PINXIT exposes Cullinan+Richards as capable of discussing the tragedies of artistic extremism. Perhaps it is this carefully curated combination of a particular situation (a former butchers shop in Berlin now an artists run space) and these objects, which leads me to believe that Cullinan+Richards will definitely amount to something.

Henry Challenger and Daniel Fuchs, London-Berlin, 2007

Cullinan+Richards founded Savage School Window Gallery for text work in 2006, No.7 Vyner Street, London: invited artists include Clunie Reid, Volker Eichelmann, Jeffery Charles Gallery with Henry Peacock, Fillip Magazine, Tom Morton

Solo shows include: The Dummy Project, Stanley Picker Gallery, London, 2007; Headquarters, Daniel Spoerri Foundation, Italy, 2006; Retrospettiva, Pari & Dispari Project, Italy, 2006; Retrospektyva IBID Projects, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2005. Independent Republic, M.O.T. Gallery, London, 2005 Group shows include: Whitstable Biennale, 2006; Leaps of Faith, Cyprus, 2005; Documentary Creations, Kunstmuseum, Luzern Switzerland, 2005; Britannia Works, Athens, 2004; Ambulantes, Museum of Contemporary Art, Seville, 2004; Values, 11thBiennale of Visual Art, Pancevo, Serbia, 2004; Edge of the Real, Whitechapel Gallery, 2004

atb #06 | shadow of yourself

Megan Sullivan, Axel John Wieder

Opening Friday April 27th, from 7pm

Exhibition: April 28 – May 19th, 2007
Open Friday and Saturday 3-7pm or by appointment

“The shadow of a person, or a person’s face, is the weakest, the emptiest but at the same time, if the light was at a fair distance, if the light fell on a flat surface, which was adequately parallel, the truest and most precise image that can be made of a human being; the weakest because it is nothing positive, it is only something negative.”
(Johann Caspar Lavater, cited after Victor Stoichita: “A Short History of the Shadow”)

after the butcher – showroom for contemporary art – is delighted to present SHADOW OF YOURSELF, the first collaboratively developed exhibition and installation of Megan Sullivan and Axel John Wieder.

Since Plinius the shadow is a fundamental model of representation and served, for example in the drawing machines designed by Lavater, for popular image-making. From the shadow a special exactness was expected whereas at the same time it was seen as a copy of a copy, as false life from second hand. In contrast to other images the shadow generally is bound directly to the human body. Often it is the shadow, that reveals, the one who stands round the corner or behind the camera but in front of the light.

SHADOW OF YOURSELF by Megan Sullivan and Axel John Wieder uses the figure of the shadow to reflect the relations between subjectivity and imagery. The installation comprises of drawings, the remake of a silhouette-chair, texts and collages which are lighted in a way that their single elements become shady and layered.

Megan Sullivan was born in Stamford, Connecticut, USA.
Axel John Wieder is co-founder of the thematic bookshop Pro qm and since 2007 director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.

atb #05 | As if there’s always free Cheese in the Mousetrap…

Endre Aalrust

Opening Friday March 9, from 7pm

Exhibition: March 10 – April 7, 2007
Open Friday and Saturday 3-7pm or by appointment

after the butcher is pleased to present Norwegian artist, Endre Aalrust, with a solo-show “As if there’s always free cheese in the mousetrap…”. Aalrust will be showing a new video piece, a series of large scale black & white photos, and sculptures made from class-related and symbolically-loaded materials.
In his work, Aalrust focuses on power structures and hierarchies and their influence on human interaction and relations. Working with a certain impurity in both content and form, invoking a mixture of high and low, slapstick and melodrama he investigates the struggle for being in a privileged position or getting the upper hand.

“The term ‘Stockholm syndrome’ was first used by Professor Nils Bejerot to explain the phenomenon of hostages bonding with their captors. In Stockholm, Sweden in 1973, two bank robbers held four people hostages for six days. The Norrmalmstorg Bank robbery received wide publicity because the hostages came to care about their captors and perceive them as protecting them against the police.”
Paul T. P. Wong

Rather than merely examining external sources of power, Aalrust attempts to focus on how repressive structures are imposed and supported through the eager participation of the “victims” themselves: the mechanisms of internalization, the production and reproduction of unjust systems through the common admiration of hierarchies of language and values.

Endre Aalrust (b.1973) studied at the Bergen Academy of Fine Arts in Norway w/Prof. Stephan Dillemuth 1998-2002. Exhibitions and videoscreenings include – “The Fantasy of a Failed Utopia…” National Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow 2007, – “Try again, Fail again. Fail better“, Momentum, Nordic Festival of Contemporary Art, Moss 2006, – “Obscure yourself“, Galerie Pierogi 2000, Leipzig 2005, – “Diversitè: Some things can be taken to the bank” Galleri Signal, 2004 Malmö, – “Jetzt und zehn Jahre davor“, Kunstwerke Berlin, 2004 – “Viper” Kunsthalle Basel, 2004 – “local connection” Künstlerhaus Bethanien 2004, Berlin.