Permanent Tourist – curated by Line Ebert, Franz Hempel, Beatrice Hilke
I am writing to you from a mountain that is difficult to get down from. Due to emotional urgency, I am allowing myself to employ the first person singular, even though the pronoun “I” is in fact interchangeable and plural. I travelled to Italy to see the places that take up so much space in what I dare call our common cultural repository. The grand narratives of the Colosseum, Forum Romanum, the spirited vanity of an Italian lover, and of course the espresso bars. I realised upon arrival, standing in the midst of things, that I can’t really see. The blindfold obstructing my sight consists of images upon images upon images — inherited but never quite acquired. This is the mountain that I want to get down from. It is not a mountain of rocks and earth, but of expectations and recollections. The place where you have already seen the sea before ever having been to the coast. It seems, that the boundless mediation of our world is never stronger than it is when one travels.
Not many who attempt to transgress and to climb down the mountain have been successful. Who has taken the quest upon herself to make this melancholic awareness productive? The artist, I suppose. The figure of the artist might even historically be aligned with the one of the flaneur cum tourist, visiting places and searching for traces – all the while relentlessly implicating herself in the surface. It is as if staying on the surface complicates the distance between her and her surroundings. One might also point out that an artist not only serves the pleasure of herself but always also of another. Once this may have been a church or aristocratic patron, then it became the emergent bourgeois class, and now a globalized luxury economy in which tourism and art are intimately linked.
The present exhibition consists of two parts. The first part is in the other room. In there, all the works were hatched in the studios of the artists: Ben Clement, Anders Dickson, and Vera Palme. All works are born by different kinds of presence and absence.
The other part begins where you are standing right now. It consists of a collaborative work that was made during a trip to Rome. The work, twenty printed t-shirts, contains the shift in production mode, as the individual practices became a collective process. A tradition of painting outside in open air was translated to no longer concerning itself with representing a surrounding world, but rather with the inscription of a surrounding structure. A structure not unlike the mountain that I find myself on. It plays out as a difference between being-at-home and being-strange. A conjunction takes place as this difference corresponds to inner displacement, that one might feel while being en route, even as a hotel guest. In other words, you dear visitor, travelling subject, can mirror yourself in the artwork, into which the journey has inscribed itself.
Photo credits: Neven Allgeier
Artists: Ben Clement, Anders Dickson, Vera Palme
Curated by: Line Ebert, Franz Hempel, Beatrice Hilke
Le Méridien Frankfurt, the lobby
Closing dates: 28.02.2018