An Artwork Doesn’t Need to Be a One-Night Stand

Jimmy & Patty feeling LUCKY at nGbK Berlin

LUCKY - nGbK Berlin

Since my last weeks and coming weeks have been and will be all about the wonderful (yes, truly so) exhibition LUCKY at nGbK Berlin curated by the equally wonderful Coven Berlin, today I will talk about my work Jimmy Carter & Patty Hearst which is part of this exhibition.

Exhibition Openings: Network vs Artwork 

The opening was a blast! A party with old and new friends. And of course, there was fantastic art as well. But with all this enjoying the opening night and chatting with one person, jumping straight to the next one (basically like chain smoking, lighting a new cigarette while still sucking on the other one) I always feel like talking a lot (I had a sore throat at the end of the night, seriously) without saying much.

See, or maybe for the innocent ones I should say, prepare yourself, openings are way more about being there and being seen. About who you are and who you know. What you do and who you do it with.

Mostly, there’s only time for a quick “So, what am I looking at?” that the opening attendee throws at the artists with strict unspoken rules of making the answer better not longer than one sentence. BTW – counts for both sides. Visitors are not the (only) bad guys in this scenario and artists are not (always) saints.

So today is for all of those who would love to stock up on our quick exchange of words during the opening of LUCKY at nGbK, and anyone else who’s in for reading artists’ statements (anyone??)!

Take a deep, deep breath. And here we go.

LUCKY: Jimmy Carter & Patty Hearst

Jimmy Carter & Patty Hearst from the Series Echoes

In the series Echoes I look at structures of power in past and current events. I observe and question how we subjectively distribute and perceive such information. How collective memory is created and develops over time and how easily it can be manipulated.

The first of nine observations reflects on the incidents, the cause and effects, of the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by terrorist group SLA in the 1970s. My interest here lies not so much in what prompted Hearst to ally with her kidnappers but rather in how her abduction and conviction has been portrayed and perceived.

Patty Hearst comes from a privileged environment, a white rich young girl from one of America’s most influential families. This background has directed the way her abduction and participation in criminal acts has been treated by officials, depicted by the media and interpreted and judged by a diverse spectatorship. The collective memory on the Patty Hearst case has been glamorized and whitewashed by the powerful constellation of privileged background, media bias and fairy tale gossiping. To point out this structure and question the collective memory that has settled so comfortably (or uncomfortably) in our minds it is necessary to reconfigure them both.

In Jimmy Carter & Patty Hearst I deconstruct and reprogram the relationship of Patty Hearst and US President Jimmy Carter, who commuted Hearst’s prison sentence in 1979. The original photograph that is serving as base for my artwork shows Hearst and Carter years later at a philanthropic event. By applying slight changes to the positioning of the observed subjects on the found photograph, I modify their interpersonal distance and hereby manipulates the message the photo was supposed to transmit.

Falling in Love with an Artwork Is Easy…

Yay! You made all way through! I’m so proud of you – and happy for you, too.

I know, I know. artists’ statements can be a drag. You came here all the way to look at stuff and not having to read your way through anything. I feel you. I always look at artworks first, as I mentioned the other day. And I also believe what makes an artwork great, is when it makes you all excited without you knowing anything about it.

Building a Relationship Takes Work

But (yes, there’s a but, honey) after you’ve taken in all that is to see and feel, take a minute to read – or listen to – what lies beyond the surface. Most of the times it’s actually worthwhile.

What’s up Next?

Since I started this blog to ramble on about artworks I look at but not so much ones created by myself let’s keep up with that – and I hope you’ll join me for a stroll filled with sun and art next time we meet again.

Let’s Chat!

Have you been to see LUCKY? Which work would you love to talk about?

Don’t be shy and leave a reply!

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