April 19, 2015

Art Object of The Week: Biking Through The Museum Of Contemporary Art

On Sunday April 19 the artist Wolfgang Müller biked through Hamburger Bahnhof - The Museum of Contemporary Art. He biked past John Knight's The Right To Be Lazy in the courtyard, then sidetracked the newly opened exhibit of Michael Beutler in the Historical Hall which tackles the neoliberal (male) gesture of MACHEN! and SCHAFFEN! (doing! producing! sounds so much better in German). He then biked the whole Dieter Roth exhibition to end up in Bar 2 at the far end. It was very exciting because Müller's performance proofs that art doesn't need to be spectacular, long-duration, difficult, and interactive to be subversive, but can be indeed very simple, playful, short, easy and doesn't need a lot of material (artists! stop using material!). In the bar he sat down for a second performance: a talk, which in Müller's case is always a performance. His talks have become legendary by now. He throws you off track, he unsettles, he amuses. It's called the strategy of "Umschweifungen" (detours). There is one regular in Müller's talks, whatever topic he has been asked to talk about: it's the reconstructed sound of extinct birds (from his audio play Séance Vocibus Avium). So also yesterday the shrieking sound of birds that no longer exist, filled the museum space and didn't miss out on creating an absurd atmosphere so in contrast with the profound seriousness of any German art event that it made you twist on your chair and giggle. Because that sound, I can tell you, is so not "cool" so that it makes the artist, playing that sound while talking punk, so not look punk that it makes him so punk and subversive to begin with and it's really hard to understand how it works but there's no easier way to put it. 

Wolfgang Müller with Anne Fäser, DJ-ing for the occasion

Wolfgang Müller with surprise guest Françoise Cactus

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