The conceptual cradle

I have to admit that I’m usually more attracted to visual and concrete aspects in art, so, even if we’re talking about undeniably important actors in art history, I find myself a bit biased at first…will I survive this?

The idea: a machine to make art.

Sol LeWitt, an American artist linked especially to conceptual art and minimalism, used to say that in conceptual art, the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. Intuitive, involved with all types of mental processes, and purposeless, once out of the artist’s hands the artwork is free to be perceived differently by each viewer.

“I should like to take this into me and keep that out of me,” is written on a large glass against the wall at the entrance. I think to myself that this appears to be a positive start.

It’s one of Joseph Kosuth works that, combined with Isabell Heimerdinger frameworks, focuses on the idea of replicability and language — no longer presented as one kind of visual element alongside others, but as art for its own meaning.

Isabell Heimerdinger, Joseph Kosuth
Works by Jospeh Kosuth and Isabell Heimerdinger, courtesy of Daimler Contemporary

Autumn in Potsdamerplatz

Continuing on, I find myself unexpectedly immersed in Martin Boyce’s (winner of the 2011 Turner Prize) melancholic Autumn atmosphere…Yellow leaves lay everywhere and huge concrete square-shaped stones dominate the floor.

Words on the walls, specifically action verbs, activate brain processes: images, ideas, desires and memories appear one after the other, making the place a special intersection of subjective meaning and the whole.

My steps become slower and even if the leaves are obviously fake, I just feel like touching them, sitting on the stones and imagining wind and nature’s perfume invading the room.

Time mix

I’m surprised: conceptual art is not only a way of reducing extremely complex ideas or theses in a synthetic and basic language. I continue my lounging around and I discover that the show doesn’t really follow a particular theme: the exhibition seems instead to be built more on the interaction of the single pieces with each other, making the dialogue between contemporary and historical pieces particularly interesting.  

What a trip 

Featuring around 80 works by 21 German and international artists, the development of the other themes and artists, including Albert Mertz, Ceal Floyer, Daniel Buren and many more, fill the rest of the space.

Refreshed from the new understanding that I got of “being conceptual,” even buying an S-Bahn ticket feels a bit different now –  a new inspiring feeling fills my mind. Reflecting on how nice it is when a show is capable of altering, even slightly, your perception of the everyday life, definitely changed the rest of my day.

  •  Daimler Contemporary, “Conceptual Tendencies 1960s to today”, October 7th –  March 18th 2012, daily 11am – 6pm