Techne and the Decency of Means at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

Artists: Ulrich Bernhardt, Tyler Coburn & Ian Hatcher, Annabella Spielmannleitner & Benjamin Köder, This Light and Andrew Norman Wilson

Exhibition title: Techne and the Decency of Means

Curated by: Fatima Hellberg, Johanna Markert, Marie Bues, Martina Grohmann

Venue: Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

Date: November 12, 2017 – January 21, 2018

Photography: Frank Kleinbach / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

Techne and the Decency of Means extends from a long-running collaboration and production platform conceived by Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and Theater Rampe. The project, which has developed and formulated itself through newly realised works by artists working across exhibition space and stage, draws on the ancient Greek understanding of ‘téchne’ as a methodology and attitude. In its original classical usage, techne is a looping term, a description of making understood as material and functional, as well as immaterial and uncontainable. It is a term proposing a unity and interdependence of two forms of knowledge – theoretical and practical, without internal separation or hierarchy.

Many of the works in Techne and the Decency of Means inhabit multiple and simultaneously held roles and functions. From Andrew Norman Wilson’s This Light, operating as a sculpture, a cinema and a prototype, to Ulrich Bernhardt’s part-oven, part-sculpture and performance, Die Schrecklich Gute Mutter. These multi-form works are realised as settings, environments that are stepped into, a quality extending to the sculpture park and events space of Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder’s Setting Sculpture.

The video works, performances and structures in this exhibition have shared the production platform which is Techne, a framework focused on the conditions and movements between intention and material. What recurs in the works developed, is a curiosity and commitment to a process of thinking through materials, and of arriving at an understanding of form-content that involves an active attention to what making as a process reveals. This question of following both an original intention, but also attuning to the ways in which a technology or materiality shapes processes back, involves a reflection on conditions of alienation. How we come to understand an ecology of a practice suggests an attention not only to an isolated production, but to forms of making which by nature and necessity have to be negotiated and situated.

The ancient notion of techne is no longer in active use. And yet, this process has been one of staying put, for a longer period of time and through the realisation of multiple projects, with a term that oscillates, loops and negotiates between what is and what isn’t (yet). This exhibition is one point in these conversations, exchanges and productions, a process of introducing techne to doubt, ecological dread, and alienation, as well as to the pleasure and delight of bringing something into being.

Techne and the Decency of Means is curated by Fatima Hellberg and Johanna Markert (Künstlerhaus Stuttgart) with Marie Bues and Martina Grohmann (Theater Rampe). The title is a homage to poet, writer and filmmaker Stefan Themerson, for whom the decency of means was the “aim of aims.”

Andrew Norman Wilson, This Light,  2017

Techne and the Decency of Means, 2017, exhibition view, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

Andrew Norman Wilson, This Light,  2017

Andrew Norman Wilson, This Light,  2017

Andrew Norman Wilson, This Light,  2017

Andrew Norman Wilson, This Light,  2017

Techne and the Decency of Means, 2017, exhibition view, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

Madelon Vriesendorp, Flagrant Délit, 1985, 16mm Animation, 9’ 42’’. Courtesy of the artist

Tyler Coburn, Remote Viewer (detail), 2017

Tyler Coburn, Remote Viewer (detail), 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Annabella Spielmannleitner and Benjamin Köder, Setting Sculpture, 2017

Ulrich Bernhardt, Die Schrecklich Gute Mutter, 2017

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