After a rather tiring week and an explosive friday evening, I was longing for a saturday at home. The week was somehow eventful, but I overdid it. I kept thinking: “Well, I should go there and meet those nice people”, but sometimes you need also some time off to recharge your batteries. Therefore, when I’ve got my reminder on Saturday for an event organized by Kunstclub13, I was not really overjoyed. However, I went because I knew somehow that it cannot go bad.
The event involved a guided tour in streets of Munich downtown, which involved seeing art in the open air. We have started with the statues portraying famous characters in Bavarian history, such as Ludwig I, and later buildings and historical monuments that reflect events from WW2. ‘Interesting’, I thought, but my mood was not on that level to keep up next 2 hours on that level. However, then the tour got another turn and we started seeing and hearing more about some art pieces that I was passing by (or over) almost every day, not even recognizing them as such. An example of that is the upscale shopping mall Fünf Höfe, hiding (or displaying) the pieces from Olafur Eliasson, Remy Zaugg, Thomas Ruff and Tita Giese. (Please remind me some time later, if I forget, to write a post on Olafur Eliasson, as he really fascinates me with his works.) Needless to say that the building itself is very interesting as it has been architected by Herzog and de Meuron.
Highlight of the tour, though, was for me the reference on Jenny Holzer. This American conceptual artists focuses on large-scale public displays, bearing philosophical or advertisement messages. Her illuminated electronic quotes I had chance already to see in the Pinakotheke der Moderne and the headquarter of Munich Re, but it was only now that I got to know more about that. Here is one of her installations, which used to be also displayed in Whitney Museum of American Art.
Not only that, but I have also learned that the Literaturhaus in Munich is also strongly associated with Jenny Holzer. Through several works she has succeeded to honour and make a monument to the author Oskar Maria Graf (1894 – 1967). You can see the quotes from Graf on a digital installation in the entrance to the restaurant as well as the granite tables, which are placed outside the entrance, but also at the leans of the leather banks. What I find particularly humorous but elegant are the plates and paper sets, which are also imprinted with Oskar Maria Graf’s sentences, such as: “Mehr Erotik, bitte!” (cup) or “Es muß doch jetzt schon bald wahr sein, dass ich berühmt bin” / “It has to be soon true that I am famous” (cake plate). They were made from Villeroy & Boch specially for Literaturhaus.
Jenny Holzer speaks often through her works against violence and oppression and may have a feminist note. I have also learnt that Jenny Holzer made a cover and designed fifteen pages for a special edition of Süddeutsche Magazin in 1993. She did a reference to violence committed against Bosnian women with words “Da wo Frauen sterben bin ich hellwach” / “Where women are dying I am wide awake”, printed on a off-white paper with a mixture of ink and blood, which shocked the public. Other message was: “Sie fiel auf den Boden meines Zimmers. Sie wollte beim Sterben sauber sein aber sie war es nicht (…)” / “She felt on the floor of my room. She wanted to be clean while dying but she was not (…)”. Off course that this topic and reflection moved me and I kept thinking about it during afternoon and evening. Then I decided to honor this artist through my little contribution and this post. My intention was not to close this in a dark mode, but this is also art and this is also history and this is also a reality in other parts of the world. (And this is also something that I (sub) conciously avoid to think about.)