Anna Artaker & Meike S. Gleim
READ WHAT WAS NEVER WRITTEN
May 3, 2013, 7pm
May 4 –18, 2013
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 4–7pm
Guided tour through the exhibition by the artists and Roland Fischer-Briand, co-editor of Streulicht, on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 7pm.
The exhibition READ WHAT WAS NEVER WRITTEN is the first presentation of the artistic research project ATLAS OF ARCADIA. With the ATLAS OF ARCADIA Anna Artaker and Meike S. Gleim undertake a double translation of Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project” that he left unfinished. On the one hand the issues of Benjamin’s urban and social history of the 19th century are transferred to our own past, meaning the epoch after the fall of the Berlin wall. On the other hand Benjamin’s collection of excerpts – which make up the Arcades Project together with his comments – are “translated” into an image atlas. Benjamin’s method not to “(…) say anything. Merely show” (GS V1, S. 574), is accepted at face value when Artaker and Gleim collect images instead of Texts; the method of “literary montage” applied in the Arcades Project is converted into a varied montage of found photographs.
The exhibition READ WHAT WAS NEVER WRITTEN attempts a first lecture of our world, strictly speaking of something that can only be contemplated. Walter Benjamin interprets the world around us as an ensemble of mimetic processes, where reading the world means mimicking it.
Benjamin cites the palm tree as an archetype for the feather duster, the Nike of Samothrace as a model for the hair dryer, industrial buildings in the style of temple architecture or furniture that quote a fortress. New materials are connected with historical forms or derived from natural ones. Hence the recurrence or afterlife of the Old in the New – a motif that plays a major role in Benjamin’s work. The return of the old in the new can release both liberating and conservative forces; it holds the potential to break with the supposed continuity of history – as when the French Revolution used the insignia of the Roman Empire to legitimize itself, to name just one example – but it is also a myth-producing element, which sells the New as a mere continuation of the Old.
Anna Artaker & Meike S. Gleim, COUNTERPARTS, series of images produced as puzzles and connected through exchange of puzzle pieces, print on cardboard, 42 x 30 cm each, 2012/13
Photo: Ulrich Dertschei
Work series of image pairs that show similar forms (mostly of architectural origin) that stand for antagonistic subjects such as the design for a spherical construction (1784) of the French revolution architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux – committed to the utopian spirit of revolution – with the photograph of a radar monitoring system in New Zealand, which is part of the espionage network Echelon. The latter appears here as the bitter side of fulfilled utopias. Each image is presented as a puzzle and puzzle pieces between related images are exchanged to literally link the images and highlight an aspect in the other picture (more information on: http://anthropologicalmaterialism.hypotheses.org/1742).
Anna Artaker & Meike S. Gleim, DOMINO (Interiors), print outs on cardboard spread out next to each other, different formats, 2013
Photo: Ulrich Dertschei
DOMINO (Interiors), 2013
The work consists of images of indoor and outdoor spaces that are lined up in a row and linked to one another by elements present in two successive images. An object seen on the right edge of a photograph (coat rack, chair, red draperies, etc.), is also to be found on the left side of the adjoining image. What is to be seen in this picture on the right, determines the connectivity to the next image. In this way, spaces are chained together and simultaneously their differences are brought to the fore (see also contribution to the magazine Streulicht n ° 2, Vienna 2013, released Mai 17, 2013).
Anna Artaker & Meike S. Gleim, WAS NIE GESCHRIEBEN WURDE LESEN (TO READ WHAT WAS NEVER WRITTEN), exhibition view VBKÖ, Vienna 2013
Foto: Ulrich Dertschei
Anna Artaker, studied Philosophy and Political Science at the Universities of Vienna and Paris 8 and Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Since 2000, numerous exhibitions and solo exhibitions in Austria and abroad (including: 2012: History Lessons, MUMOK, Vienna, 2010: Anna Artaker, Secession, Vienna). Lives in Vienna.
Meike S. Gleim, studied Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Vienna. Numerous research projects and publications (including: The government of democracy (monograph), Passagen Verlag, Vienna 2009; The Meaning of Europe (editor), Routledge, London, 2013) as well as numerous exhibitions. Lives in Paris.
Their common artistic research project ATLAS OF ARCADIA is based at the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and supported by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) as part of the PEEK programme (Program for Arts-based research). See also: www.anthropologicalmaterialism.hypotheses.org