When is a sculpture finished? Who deems a print a misprint? The final exhibition of Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair’s class on Printed worlds and Michael Beutler’s class In the Conglomerate show creations, based on the joy of experimentation.
The conglomerate is more than a type of stone that the Festung stands on. In the frame of Michael Beutler’s class, it is a process of commoning. The students mined the Summer Academy’s archive of materials, sharing space, ideas and means of production. A zine commemorates the first joint venture of the class. It publishes an exercise were every student had to design their own chair. During the course, the shared atelier space is productive anarchy. Latex, concrete, clay and other stranger materials take different shapes and conversations.
Visiting the space for the final display, it has transformed into a communal gallery space. The bonds between the respective artists gain contour through the dialogue between their individual sculptures and how they interact in space. An oversized rubber-band made from latex traverses the space. Simon Treindl’s “The plinth”/ “the hanger”/ “Stop Falling” suspends a table-stand millimeters from the ground. Two giant bubbles from plastic see-through bags billow into mollusk shapes and seem to eat the site (“Aufgeschnitte Weichtiergehäuse” — Weibke Bachmann).
These sculptures hover, dangle, rest and provide interesting material problems more than formal solutions. “Precarious Structure 5” by Erika Trotzig is bent on destroying itself. A rod lies on biodegradable bags of water. As a whole, these cooperative sculptures function playfully as a giant booby trap to the viewer.
This notion of expression as a process can also be found in Printed Worlds. It takes many attempts to make a perfect print. Once on paper, its value is assessed. On display in the corridors of the academy as an invitation, each A2 poster showcases a students’ screenprints. The printer’s workshop has transformed from running machines to hanging prints for the final display. What qualifies as a print takes many forms. Magarita Petrova has interpreted a Russian poem into a print installation in multiple layers. Lithographs, monotypes and screen prints line the walls. Martin Doyle has a whole wall to himself in varying formats. One print is of a crudely drawn gun, blasting the word “shoot”. The long history of print as a peaceful weapon for communication never gets old. Here, the classic medium of print is tested and reconfigured as material interventions and slide-shows. Julia Vergazova has turned her neon-colored experiments into the final print.
Only through such playgrounds is it possible to redefine sculpture and print. Both classes make the value of the process visible. Art is about daring to take a risk and make multiple mistakes. Pushing limits is prerequisite.
11 August 2019
by Nina Prader
Nina Prader is an artist, author, independent publisher, and a print activist in Berlin and Vienna. She has written for Texte zur Kunst, Spex, SLEEK, BerlinArtLink, HANT, Arts for the Working Class, Wespennest, and Augustin. Her research focuses on printed matters and the Risograph. Most recently she curated the exhibition “Druck Druck Druck” in the Galerie im Körnerpark, Berlin; the gallery became a live publishing house and print studio to pursue radical goals in art, education, and community.