WELT AM DRAHT is the title of the first presentation in the new temporary JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION satellite at Leipziger Strasse 60 in Berlin’s Mitte district. In line with the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION’s insistence that it be contemporary, the exhibition is devoted to media-based pieces that address the influences and changes in our social reality, identity and environment since digitalisation.
In 38 main pieces by 20 international artists all drawn from the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION, starting with large video installations, sculptural works, a performance, a monumental live simulation through to a purpose-made piece by artist collective K-HOLE the exhibition highlights current art strategies and a completely new artistic formal idiom first enabled by the latest technologies.
Ian Cheng, EMISSARY FORKS AT PERFECTION, 2015, live simulation and story, infinite duration, colour, sound. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London
Rachel Rose, PALISADES IN PALISADES, 2014, single-channel HD video installation, 9’31’’, colour, sound. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London
Wu Tsang, A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BLISS, 2014, Two-channel video installation, 20’26’’, colour, sound. Courtesy of the artist and GALERIE ISABELLA BORTOLOZZI
WELT AM DRAHT derives from the eponymous two-part 1973 TV movie produced by German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder (born in 1945 in Bad Wörishofen, died 1982 in Munich). The plot is derived from SIMULACRON 3, a novel by US author Daniel F. Galoye dating from 1964.
Nothing is left to chance at the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Research. Ostensibly for research purposes, a private corporation uses a mainframe to create a computer-animated world where economic and social developments can be simulated in order to make forecasts and thus lay the basis for decision-making. This mainframe goes by the name of Simulacron 1 and is capable of perfectly simulating a section of reality with all the respective inhabitants. All the simulated persons have their own minds, but no idea that they are part of a virtual reality.
One of the central pieces in the exhibition is the live simulation by Ian Cheng (born in 1984 in Los Angeles, lives and works in New York) made in 2015. By means of the virtual animated real-time simulations that arise through the 3D videogame design Cheng enables viewers to experience the microscopic but essential mechanisms of the complex, multi- millennia-long process of evolution. The artist construes his real-time simulations as “neurological gymnastics” intended to familiarise the viewer with the experience of constant change and with states of confusion, anxiety and cognitive dissonance.
Artists such as Britta Thie or K-HOLE draw on ad images as the primary language for their works. The structure of consumer and product experiences in capitalist societies and the creative industries become the main theme of art.
By contrast, Jon Rafman, Wu Tsang, Hannah Black and Hito Steyerl spotlight the inner turmoil of digital culture as expressed by changed gender roles, political bodies and the subculture of online communities.
Another aspect of the show is the definition of mortality, as is especially evident in the two video installations A MINUTE AGO and PALISADES IN PALISADES made in 2014 by Rachel Rose (born in 1986, she lives and works in New York). Her subject matter and venues range from Philip Johnson’s Glass House to the American War of Independence and park layouts in the 19th century. The narratives overlap with one another, reveal different angles on death, and morph into a kind of deja-vu in the viewer.
The works in the exhibition share in common a critical thrust that asks how digital technology should be limited and justified. In this regard, the individual art forms oscillate between the different genres. They radically cast into question traditional notions of the artwork and the original creation of pictures as the main task of art.
The JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION is a private collection of contemporary international art with a focus on time-based media. Founded in 2007, the private collection has its own exhibition building in Düsseldorf, with a total of 3,000 sq.m. available for public presentations.
At present, the collection boasts over 700 works by around 200 primarily European and US artists. The various substantive aspects covered by the collection are presented and documented in regular temporary exhibitions and publications. The steadily growing collection concentrates conceptually above all on the moving image in art from the 1960s to the present day and straddles various disciplines: video, single and multiple projections of analog and digital film material, multimedia environments as well as computer and Internet- based installations, but also ephemeral art forms, such as performances.
To supplement the main Düsseldorf location, starting 2 June 2016 a temporary space will open to the public in Berlin. The exhibition area covers a full 2,500 sq.m. and is to be found in Berlin’s Mitte district at Leipziger Strasse 60 – in the building complex that formerly housed the Czech Cultural Center in East Germany. Most recently, the Konzulát club and the office community Konzulát-Studios was based here.
Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge of Berlin architects has masterminded the conversion of the premises into an exhibition space. By opening the satellite in Berlin, JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION becomes the first private collection in Germany to have two publicly accessible locations at once - in Düsseldorf and Berlin.