To Lie In The Cheese, To Smile In The Butter at KUNSTSAELE Berlin

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Artists: Magnus Andersen, Vittorio Brodmann, Verena Dengler, David Douard, Leon Eisermann, Heike-Karin Föll, Ellen Gronemeyer, HC, Okka-Esther Hungerbühler, Tom Kummer, Claudia Lemke, Michaela Meise, Frances Stark, Josef Strau, Pascal Tassini, Peter Wächtler

Exhibition title: To Lie In The Cheese, To Smile In The Butter

Curated by: Kate Brown and Maurin Dietrich

Venue: KUNSTSAELE Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Date: September 9 – November 15, 2016

Photography: Frank Sperling, all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and KUNSTSAELE Berlin

I think I’ll serve some toast today
Oh no, there is no butter
Perhaps I’ll find some jelly or jam
Amidst the cupboard’s clutter
Sadly to say there is
No thing
To spread upon my bread
I’m forced to poke this knife
Into my hungry head
I bet inside there is mayonnaise
And something like smoked ham
My eyes can serve as olives
To garnish the sandwich I am

(Frances Stark: The Architect & the Houswife, 1999)

KUNSTSAELE presents To Lie in the Cheese, to Smile in the Butter, an exhibition exploring psychic and spatial interiors as sites of production. Instead of representing an interior world, the exhibition challenges the notion of private interior as being related to a more “romantic tradition” compared to public exteriority’s stronger historical association to the avant-garde[1]. Opposing this binary, this exhibition looks at the private domain as a space for experimentation and anarchy – a room to play as well as to act.

KUNSTSAELE’s 18th century bourgeois setting might once have set a polished stage for entertaining, but here grandeur grooves with the theatrical, hobbyism fraternizes with professionalism. The materiality of interior space is unpacked through common materials to explore intuitive acts and mental fragmentation, wanderings made solid by invention of novel, performative shapes. Individual works repeat together to form new fictional identities. The psychic interior, meanwhile, is a space of ultimate aloneness. Potential has a way of emerging from such solitude, rising to the surface with effervescence. Here, the artists allow for wandering extensions of social and political realities, in which characters and contexts become unbound, spilling in from exterior realms into private ones to become exaggerated, grotesque, arch-versions of their original selves.

It is the journalist Tom Kummer, fabricating his imaginary dialogues with Pamela Anderson from his small bungalow somewhere in Los Angeles. In a world where work and person are increasingly expected to be unified, isolated and intimate spheres can be structures of resisting this very condition. An interior breeds fluid identity. Roles are exchangeable.

More than mere appendage, a publication accompanies the exhibition as its literary extension. Frances Stark’s seminal The Architect & the Housewife acts as its anchor, unpacking the conditions of her home-based artistic practice, and in turn underlining the interiorized experience of writing itself. These texts will echo throughout the exhibition space, though read by different authors, presented within a rotating program throughout the duration of the exhibition.

To Lie in the Cheese, to Smile in the Butter sees rooms as possibilities, mindscapes as limitless environments, and private worlds as an idealistic avant-garde free from constraint. Visual, written and sensory narratives improvise to activate imagery that is not bound to representation, but lingers between appearance and reality.

[1] Stark, Frances: The Architect & the Housewife, London 1999, p. 11.

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Michaela Meise, Tour de Lecture, 2010

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HC, HC (3)3 HM, 2016

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David Douard, S’, 2015

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Claudia Lemke, Short Stories, 2016

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David Douard, We(anonymous walking in), 2015

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Heike-Karin Föll, n°155 office drag pro, 2016

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