29.11.2013 - 09.01.2014
|Opening:||Thursday, November 28, 2013, 7-9 pm|
|Opening Hours:||Wed/Fri 1-6 pm, Thu 1-7 pm, Sat 12-4 pm|
Site-specific interventions are a reoccurring strategy in artist collective Jochen Schmith’s work. Exhibition space is not only used for the presentation of a concept, but becomes an important carrier of meaning in their artistic approach. For the first solo show at Esther Donatz Jochen Schmith has transformed the gallery into a stage-like setting. Draped like a curtain, a precious fabric from an Italian haute couture collection stresses the theatrical scenery that raises the expectation of a glamorous performance: Consisting of cashmere and silk, the material is covered with embroidery inspired by color stains as they can be found on “artist trousers” and “painter pants” by designers like Ralph Lauren or Dolce & Gabbana. These accessories can be purchased in luxury shops and are supposed to give their buyers a sense of being an artist. Conveying a bohemian style, Jochen Schmith readapts this industrially manufactured, commercial fashion item by transforming it from ready-made into an individual work. The fabric now contains a unique artist signature, but may as well evoke a wall of logos representing sponsors.
The exploration of the art world and its mechanisms including the artist’s role within the market as well as aspects of commercialization is taken up in ”Cigar Ends – Collectors‘ Waste“ (2011). For this work, artist group Jochen Schmith collected cigar leftovers in the collectors’ lounges at international art fairs to be cast in bronze afterwards. Combined with the elegant fabric and a silkscreen print “Dekoration auf einer Petersburger Millionärsparty (Decoration at a Petersburg Millionaire’s Party“ (2007) questions of value, consumption, representation and power arise.
The title of the audio work ”A-Club“ (2006) at first also sounds exclusive and prestigious. The disillusion becomes even greater when it turns out that it is in fact a counseling interview which Jochen Schmith had at an employment center. Over a loud speaker the recommendations of the responsible official can be heard who seems to find it difficult to give good advice to the artist collective. The simultaneous translation into an English with a heavy German accent points out both the absurdity and the humor of the situation. The audio work is surrounded by different cyanotypes that display images of gambling machines. They do not only augur fun and profit, but also hint at the possibility of unfulfilled promises. What expects artists in general and how can the exhibition title “ikke kompetanse” (no competence) be understood? Which variables does the term that was part of the rejection letter that Jochen Schmith received from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts relate to?
Outstanding and on display for the first time, a new neon work appears to be seductive like illuminated advertising. However distinct from a sales message, the word combination cannot be deciphered. It refers to so-called captchas and humanizers, verification tools that distinguish men from machines. Filling in forms online, for instance, requires the confirmation of a letter code to authenticate the user and prevent the misuse of data. In reference to captchas and both their selective and access controlling function as well as conceptual text works, the neon sign allows for various interpretations that transcend the relation between human and machine, anonymity and individuality.
Peter Hoppe (*1975 in Madrid), Peter Steckroth (*1977 in London) and Carola Wagenplast (*1978 in Paris) formed the artist collective Jochen Schmith in 2000 during their studies at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg. Except for one gallery exhibition in 2006, their works have exclusively been shown within institutional contexts, e.g. at Kunstverein Brunswick, Hamburg and others, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht, SUBTE Centro de Exposiciones, Montevideo/ Uruguay or recently at the Fellbach Triennial of Small-scale Sculpture. The artists live in Hamburg, Brussels and Maastricht.
Jochen Schmith will be present during the exhibition opening.
Phone: +49 89 70 07 62 00
Jochen Schmith at Esther Donatz Gallery