11 December 2009, 5 – 6 p.m.
Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Conference Room, Untere Karlsstraße 4, Kassel
Participants: San Keller (SK), Rein Wolfs (RW) and approx. 35 guests
San Keller (SK) opened the discussion with a brief introduction. Last summer hewas encouraged by Rein Wolfs (RW) to come up with some thoughts. This inquiry was worded in very open terms, which is why he wanted to takeadvantage of this freedom to criticise the vessel ‘exhibition’. What form shouldan exhibition take in his case? He endeavoured to pursue this issue by firstof all having discussions with RW in order to criticise the current exhibitions andthus engage in a process of reflection.
In this connection the question arose for artist and curator if whether these discussions between them were already part of the exhibition. Here RW drew attention to the potential and specific difficulties of performative exhibitions. In a relatively largeinstitution such as the Fridericianum it is for instance also necessary to fit in with existing marketing instruments. RW also described his great astonishment about the unexpectedly representational theme of the performance artistKeller’s invitation card, on which the porcelain coffee service painted by SK’s mother in the 1960s is depicted. SK explained that for some years he had mostly worked with language. For example, minutes were being taken of this preview and would be printed on the next invitation. However, as he was not sure whether he wanted only to work with language in the exhibition, he had chosen representational imagery in order to leave open the search for other forms. Pawel Althamer’s exhibition Frühling (April-June 2009 at Kunsthalle Fridericianum) had influenced him when he opted for the porcelain. He could imagine working witholder persons for his exhibition, whereas Althamer had worked with children.
In this connection RW was interested to know to what extent SK would need a curator at all or whether he was not already curating his own exhibition. SK replied that curators are certainly needed as critical partners for discussion, andthe real question was whether an institution would be needed. RW explained that as a curator he saw his role rather as making a selection and creating the preconditions for artists to express themselves in a suitable form, whether with tangible materials or in an intangible, conceptual way. SK replied that because he did not specialise in one material, the question of materials repeatedly had to be answered anew.
A further fundamental question to which RW referred was that of the space. Would a statement become art only when it would take place in the particular space of an art institution? RW pointed out that for diverse, i.e. financial reasons some spaces in the Fridericianum such as the Zwehrenturm were currently not in use for exhibitions. For RW the tower would have great potential as an exhibition space, as it possesses a historically based aura that transcends the Fridericianum. SK commented that hecertainly considered the Zwehrenturm as an exhibition site but did not wish to commit himself. RW said he would be pleased if SK could at least provide a few ideas andconcepts. During the discussion SK repeatedly emphasised how important this uncertainty was to him. In retrospect he regarded some of his exhibitions as too risk-free, and wished to have more exposure to criticism.
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).