The blue-carpeted group show, Grand Opening Reception ran at Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (NAK) between July 18 to September 13 2015. Each of the works by artists, inlcluding Carey Young, Peter Friedl, Dena Yago, Stewart Uoo, Christian Von Borries, Renaud Jerez, Cooper Jacoby were installed on top of white shiny bar tables made by Kuwaiti artist and architect Aziz Al Qatami. Al Qatami was commissioned by curators Lennart Wolff and Elisa R. Linn to make the exhibition architecture bear close relation to what it looks like at small business events. Berlin-based Wolff and Linn run a project called km temporaer, which pushes at the form and thematics of the group exhibition.
Some of the works in Grand Opening Reception were made for the table tops specifically. They become presentations. George Rippon‘s ‘Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear’ (2015) is a scenario with tiny characters and props inside a white box with a blue floor and skinny shiny white tables. There are three pigs, one on top of another on one of the micro-tables: they appear to be having fun.
On another table is an incredibly flat piece, ‘Untitled’ (2015) by Julien Ceccaldi. It is an image of a figure half way behind a curtain behind a window, looking out – or up, as the table’s flat surface would have it. Ceccaldi’s table becomes like a stained glass window and the figure is trapped in its visibility. Kaspar Müller also presents figures on top of his table. A group of characters and objects taken from different recognisable children’s fables sit together in close proximity making a strange circle-scene that mostly faces outwards.
The group of works as a collection somewhat refuse (and refuses) to join in with an exact shared aesthetic, or affect, despite and perhaps because of their joint display fashion and its blatant gesture towards a commercialisation of aesthetics (and visa versa). In a previous interview between Peter Friedl and Mousse Magazine, he talks about the disappearance of anything – history, potential -in image, and art as being a phase-out model in the process of standardising an aesthetic.
Where does art go in midst of this process? Where does art go in the discussion of the intentional commercialisation of ‘look’ and aesthetic identity? Does it fall in the gap? Does it fall off? Many of the exhibition photos displayed for and after Grand Opening Reception are of people standing in the blue carpeted room. It is a show wherein the artworks end up as these small unstable self-iterating gems inside something else that’s not really paying attention, whatever they look like, however they appear. **
Exhibition photos, top right.