26 March 2010, 5 – 6 p.m.
documenta-Halle, Du-Ry- Straße, Kassel
Participants: San Keller (SK), Rein Wolfs (RW) and approx.190 guests
Minutes: Sylvia Ruttimann
In their second panel discussion taking place prior and in preparation to San Keller's show at the Fridericianum curator ReinWolfs (RW) and artist San Keller (SK) start out by discussing the first product of SK’s project Digestiv (Walk), a publication. SK had the conversations between him and Fridericianum visitors about Navid Nuur's and Carlos Amorales' exhibitions transcribed and made into a booklet designed by Zurich graphic designers Norm. He asks RW what he thinks about the result, in artistic terms but also with respect to more institutional matters such as finances, credits and acknowledgements. RW’sreaction is very positive. He likes the fact that there is a product and that SK talked with people from all walks of life as well as art professionals. As to SK's fear of exposing and instrumentalising people too much he thinks that these conversations, which at times include rather harsh criticism, can be risky and one has to be careful about it, but that it is part of SK's and other artists' methods. RW is less sure about what to think of the fact that SK decided to do without imprint, not defining it as a product by the Kunsthalle Fridericianum. SK states that he might have pursued those walks and ensuing publication withoutRW’s invitation, so that he did not think it mandatory to mention curator or sponsors. RW muses that this seems to tie in with the whole confusing situation where it is not only not clear who is actually curating – this might even be described a joint curatorship –but also who will be paying for the costs incurred. RW asks SK to outline what further ideas he has for theupcoming exhibition. SK still has no real plan, but is toying with a few ideas, for example of staging a waiting room with desks where people with laptops sit and welcome the visitors, asking them to talk about their lives and writing them down on their laptops. This idea is inspired by his Digestiv (Walks), where he concentrates on the end of the exhibition when visitorsleave. Now he would like to stress the beginning. Then he is thinking of having a place in the Fridericianum where visitors can drink coffee and eat cake, trying to bring in a visual and haptic aspect. It is these two opposite situations, at the beginning andthe end of the exhibition, as well as a yet undefined space in the middle that stick in his mind. Now he is working on the connections between them.
RW seems quite taken with these ideas, especially the potential of building relations and connections. He points out that as a curator one always tries to build bridges, that he himself made his name as a curator of a practice called 'Relational Aesthetics', working with artists thatstressed relations, and that he is interested in involving the visitors in a discussion, cf. the way Pawel Althamer did in his recent project at Fridericianum. Also, SK's idea ofserving cakes made him draw a biographical connection to the current exhibition by Thomas Zipp, as Zipp's parents are bakers and owners of a pastry shop. Last but not least though, he is critically reminded of the Dutch idea of things having to be 'gezellig', or cosy, mentioning a museum director who thinks that a museum has to smell of apple pie so as to be inviting for the visitors. SK replies that he is actually interested in the symbolic content of the cakes, in their being part of rituals, as gifts exchanged on particulardays, holidays or birthdays for example. One thing RW is not con- vinced about yet are the biographies, questioning if this might be contemporary enough, formally speaking.There is also not much room for installing desks in the entrance hall, so that they would have to consider other options in terms of space, for example the tower RWmentioned during the last panel discussion. They conclude the conversation by agreeing to have a look at the tower, and especially, to finally try and find someone who can deliver the transcripts of the Digestiv (Walks) to the persons they are meant for, artists Navid Nuur and Carlos Amorales, as quickly as possible and in their respective languages, Dutch and Spanish.
San Keller was born in Berne in 1971. He completed his studies at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, where he now lives and works. Among his most recent solo exhibitions are R S - K P R S G B at the Neuer Kunstverein Giessen (2009), Show Show at the Centre Pasquart, Biel (2008), Concept and Commerce at the Maes & Matthys Gallery, Antwerp and Clever and Smart at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (both 2007). San Keller participated in several group exhibitions including Our Subject Is You at the Weather Spoon Art Museum, Greensboro, Eine bessere Welt at the Bonner Kunstverein (beide 2009), Shifting Identites at the Kunsthaus Zürich (2008), Wenn Handlungen Form werden (2007/08) at the Neues Museum Nürnberg and The Go-Between at the De Appel, Amsterdam (2007).