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A great performance: Artists from the Deutsche Bank Collection at documenta 13
Retro-Fictions: Made in Germany Two in Hanover
Pawel Althamer in Berlin, Bolzano, and Munich
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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.

Althamer 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.

Together 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.

Paweł Althamer
May 29 – October 6, 2012
Sammlung Goetz

Polyethylene
May 26 – August 26, 2012
Museion in Bolzano

Draftsmen’s Congress
Berlin Biennale
St. Elisabeth Kirche/ Berlin-Mitte
through July 1




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