Stolen Fantasy by Franz West and Anselm Reyle is an introduction into the worlds of two artists who have their hearts set on questioning the mainstream understanding of authorship and promoting a conceptual approach to art production. To me it also felt like a reminiscence of the Indian traditional celebration “Holi” where people throw colour at each other. Still, despite the prevalent colour splashes, I did not need to take an umbrella to visit the exhibition as the process of dispersing colour was already over.
The artists must have aimed at challenging canons as well as each other by exchanging a plethora of unfinished works. Both were supposed to labour over the incomplete works of their fellow-artist until the piece was deemed complete. The exchange and the follow-up work gave birth to the exhibition “Stolen Fantasy” shown at the Schinkel Pavillon.
“General Overview”, Stolen Fantasy by Franz West and Anselm Reyle, Photo: Robert Sasse
Colour, more colour… too much colour??
The Schinkel Pavillion created by Schinkel, founding father of Prussian architecture, seems the perfect home for “Stolen Fantasy”. The two artists are the Austrian Franz West and the Berlin-based artists Anselm Reyle (here I wonder since when did “Berlin-based” become a viable substitute for one’s nationality?!). They fill up the space with a characteristic presence of figures and formations. A curtain, hand- or machine-sewn, in neon pink and neon yellow lead me to believe that I might get an overdose of colour. But not quite. The colours are bright and 90s style, however, cause no shock. The addition of splashes of colour to the other artist’s work appears to me to be one of the main principles behind West and Reyle’s idea. This brought me back to a time when I edited or finished my classmates’ homework to make the language more picturesque and fluid. Thankfully, it never occurred to me to literally pour colour on top of it.
No Fear of Peer Intervention
“Stolen Fantasy” is a fruit of peer intervention and “swap” but had I not been told I’d believe it is the more fragmented work of only one artist. My favourite, a grouping of three separate pieces exemplifies this fusion quite well. The pieces “Ludovica”, “Hangover” and “Steel Phantasy I” fit together unquestionably. They make up for a living-room scenery consisting of a chair, a lamp and ahhh… I imagine the third piece could be anything from a big plant to a flying futuristic bed. This play with everyday objects and furniture looks so refreshing that it makes me want to have it in my own living room. The curator Nina Pohl and her team have done a good job combining and grouping the works.
Going Abstract and Vice Versa
I am too curious a person not to examine closely and discover that “Steel Phantasy I” is made of parts of old beds. While the lamp-stand of “Hangover” represents what I’d call a “chain frozen in space”. Not all the materials were familiar to me or even recognisable but steel, chipboard cable, wood, bulbs and electric accessories were all present. This is why the works did not necessarily speak the same language.
Speaking many languages is a plus, though, and not only when looking for a job in Berlin. And who would refuse a shower of colour splashes? Especially, when intended to brighten up the work of a friend. Now, please excuse me as I go searching for someone to finish or alter this article. Peer help is the key!
- Schinkel Pavillon Franz West and Anselm Reyle – “Stolen Fantasy” March 24th – April 23rd 2012 Thur-Sun: 12pm-6pm