On an evening more than a hundred years ago, painters gathered for a late night dinner in the salon of 27 Rue de Fleurus in Paris. It was only at the end of the night that Pablo Picasso noticed that the artists were placed around the table in a specific order: they were each facing their own work. Gertrude Stein had seated them so that they all would find themselves across from their own image.
The first collections might have been those of the Cabinet of Curiosities inside the Collegium Romanum. Those early modern time cabinets of curiosities and their salons did not separate natural products from artefacts. Rarities like ostrich eggs were combined with alleged remnants of unicorns and ivory carvings, next to which were exhibits of physical instruments and east-asian porcelain, but also works of painting.
Whether through fictive objects of natural history or via objects from the periphery of art, as it is presented in the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA today for example, the collections attempted to show a universal connection between all things, with the goal to convey a certain worldview, in which history, art, nature and science combine to a unified whole. Simonow is collecting as well. Collecting stories of year long friendships in the form of drawings, collecting endless nights in small paintings, unhappy romances in porcelain, passionate enmities and wild stories in huge paintings, private connections and exhausting work relations in sculptures. At first intended for the private space only, the many works soon filled the walls of his one bedroom apartment, outgrew it, spread to his parents‘ living room, to the archives of friends and the storage spaces of befriended artists. The exhibition of the Simonow Collection brings all those works that have been collected over the past five years in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Leipzig but also Switzerland and Norway, together in one place for the first time.
These works rarely find their entrance to the Simonow Collection by acquisition, yet they present an economic transaction of another order. The exchange is not the „complete other“ of monetized economy but establishes a new economic form which is served through days of support during production in the studio of artist friends, through nightly Königsberger Klopse cooking sessions or through the exchange of his own photographies. The works are the expression of a cycle of giving, taking and returning and thus transgress a capitalist logic of purchase. The collection of works that has been passed to Simonow’s ownership in this manner simultaneously marks the place at which the collector moves and functions as the demonstration of precisely these connections in the exhibition space.
In all of this, the collection does not have a thematic focus but is characterized by pictorial expression. Formal aesthetic similarities reference the friendship between artists, the same joke can hint to the original spatial proximity during production, but might also only represent the closeness of an early morning drunk vow for eternal loyalty. Gertrude Stein’s salon, the space in which the artists originally sat across from their own work is marked in the Simonow Collection by cross-references and confrontations between the works.
Text: Maurin Dietrich
February, 6th 2016, 7pm
Leipziger Straße 63
Kunstraum Adler ((website coming soon)
February, 20th 2016
Kunsthalle Bozen (website coming soon)
March, 24th 2016