Art Factory, Congress, Procession:
Paweł Althamer in Berlin, Bolzano, and Munich
||Snow-white, surreal-looking figures that make you think of zombies or baroque vanitas paintings. In a show titled Polyethylene, the Museion Bolzano presents around 70 sculptures from Pawel Althamer’s installation Almech that were conceived as a commissioned work for the Deutsche Guggenheim.
The Polish artist is known for his projects that often include all
types of different people: kids, neighbors, handicapped persons, the
homeless—or, as with Almech, staff and visitors to the Deutsche Guggenheim and the Deutsche Bank building on the boulevard Unter den Linden, where the exhibition house is located.
is a master of an art form that transgresses boundaries; he repeatedly
questions the rules and boundaries of the art establishment. For years,
he has been using his father’s plastics factory, located in a Warsaw
suburb, as a workplace; he chose its name “Almech” as the title of his
installation. In the fall of last year, the artist transformed the
Deutsche Guggenheim into a temporary branch of the family business for
a period of almost three months. Together with Althamer, Almech workers
produced around 120 sculptures using two machines. The works accrued
over the duration of the exhibition to form a complex group portrait
that touches upon existential themes such as death and transience,
while also exploring the conditions of work and production in business
and in art.
Concurrent with the show at the Museion is another solo exhibition of Althamer’s work at the Goetz Collection in Munich. Included in the show are a video projection of his performance Cardinal (1991), made during his studies at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, as well as more recent works that Althamer has made in collaboration with various different groups.
with five neighbors and friends from Bródno, the district in Warsaw
where the artist grew up, Althamer created the five-part group of
figures titled Bródno People (2010) in a reference to Auguste Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais.
Althamer has frequently carried out expeditions with friends and
residents of the pre-fab apartment projects; dressed in golden space
suits, they chartered an airplane covered in gold enamel paint and
traveled to Mali, Brasilia, Oxford, and Brussels. He is also doing a
performance with them, titled Common Task, Bozen/ Bolzano—Munich,
which connects the two shows: on the occasion of the exhibition in the
Museion, a “golden” bus travels from Poland to South Tyrol and finally
to Munich in a mixture of procession, pilgrimage, and carnival parade.
Althamer’s works can also be seen at the 7th Berlin Biennial, where he invites visitors to his Draughtsmen’s Congress.
The drawing congress is aimed both at laypersons and professionals,
such as architects and designers; the entire interior of the St.
Elisabeth Kirche in Berlin Mitte will be covered in paper and
transformed into a huge canvas. Various different working groups will
react to existing drawings, engage in discussion, and compete. The
result will be a huge drawing in a continuous state of flux that also
frames a collective manifesto. The project encompasses issues of
authorship, professional hierarchies, and competence into a drawing
excess that is free and open to all.
May 29 – October 6, 2012
May 26 – August 26, 2012
Museion in Bolzano
St. Elisabeth Kirche/ Berlin-Mitte
through July 1