September 23, 2016

Andy Warhol in Heipzig, oh sorry, Leipzig!

It’s been a few weeks by now and the exhibition has already finished. I’m sorry for that, but I was particularly moved after seeing Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests show in Leipzig. It was nice to stick to that feeling for a while without spelling it out. The Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst showed a selection of Warhol’s Screen Tests, of which he made 471 between 1964 and 1966. The work is very simple - Andy Warhol at his best: a 16 mm camera filming somebody’s face for 2 minutes and 50 seconds and then slowing the film down to 4 minutes. You’re basically observing people’s faces looking in the camera. Soundless. There is a beauty about it that gets under your skin. 

I also didn’t want to write about the show because I feel reluctant about its curating. It's not important in the end, with the work being so strong. The art of curation with Andy Warhol is to just let it be, as simple as possible. The curator Julia Schäfer clearly wanted to be creative and complicate matters. The Screen Tests were shown on wooden panels, which was okay but intrusive nevertheless. It got worse later when the display was suddenly changed into a projection on glass and in a film set. In Warhol’s Screen Tests there are no hierarchies between the persons being filmed: everybody got the 2 minutes and 50 seconds. The curator’s display shouldn’t have messed with that.

There was one particular thing of the curating that got on my nerves: in the middle of the exhibition, on some shelves, the curator had displayed books marked with quotes that apparently had inspired her research. I hated it. It was too much information and it damaged the quietness of my viewing experience with that so-called "knowledge." As it is: I don’t want to see any research stuff in exhibitions anymore - damn, just show us the final result! Yeah, I got very edgy and afterwards I couldn’t concentrate anymore. 

A few weeks later on the train from Halle to Berlin a friend told me it’s probably the slow motion that is so attractive for us in a time when everything goes speedy. It’s true, after spending an hour at the David Claerbout exhibition in KINDL this weekend, I realized there is something mesmerizing about slowing time down. Some artists fasten things up and I’m not really a fan of that: it makes me nervous. 

Leipzig is, by the way, an excellent city for slowing down. It was my first time there and I was surprised to see there are no hipsters yet in Leizpig. Instead I saw many hippies hanging out as if George W. Bush never happened. My friend got really excited and decided to move there on the spot. "Probably cheap rent for big spaces," she was dreaming. However, back in Berlin, she found out that everybody wants to move to Leipzig. That’s why it’s now called Heipzig. 

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