The earth, at the same time, half as small and twice as big – a text work by Andreas Slominski lends its title to this exhibition. It points to the fact that we could see things differently, if only we allowed ourselves. But, it also clarifies that imagination is required in order to consider the exhibition’s conceptual works.
Usually, performers tell their stories on stage. We want to let objects tell stories. And yet, these stories, as well as the significance of these objects, will remain secret if their context is not revealed. Most of the time, contemporary art is presented in White Cube – perfect and antiseptic. It is designed to create the optimal effect, so that the work appears in the best light. But here, the stage and the auditorium become the exhibition space itself. Not only art, but the theater itself is presented. The historic auditorium turns into its own exhibition object. Willem de Rooij’s Bouquet V, a bouquet of flowers, celebrates this. It is the Dutch artist’s only work that exclusively celebrates the diversity of nature without any limitations to color or form.
On stage, everyday objects appear between regular stage equipment. They are works of art, because the artists have defined them as such. We could ask, what is the difference between Philippe Parreno’s plug and those of the stage lights? On display, there are stacks of books by Carol Bove and Oliver Laric, a hose by Elmgreen and Dragset, as well as a shirt, and a folding ruler by Andreas Slominski. What’s more, there is a designer chair with a bent frame by Wade Guyton and watches by Jan Timme and Jens Haaning, which represent totally different things. In the middle, there are feeding devices for various kinds of pets by Rodney McMillian. And, there is a cheap Daihatsu van that seems to be associated with the famous Poul Henningsen lamp somehow.
Each work of art tells its own story and has its own special context. But each one could also be something that was forgotten on stage after the last rehearsal. The works do not stand on pedestals, but simply on the floor, as if they were real stage performers. They are situated on the revolving stage and on the area nearby. The turntable moves slowly. This way, the positions and relationships between the works shift almost unnoticeably. Even the photos on the walls, works by Christopher Williams which depict technical equipment, are always facing something new. And, above everything, like a moon, stands an Artemide lamp by Cerith Wyn Evans, which transmits a text by Theodor Adorno via Morse code: The stars down to earth.
The Highlighter by Ólafur Elíasson is a wandering beam of light. It scans the stage and the auditorium, guiding the eye toward various items in both worlds. But, isn’t that exactly what traditional stage lighting is used for? How is it different from a searchlight that delivers nearly the same outcome at every performance?