‘An exhibition is a construction that reveals itself continuously. A reality that happens in front of our eyes, a series of experiences oscillating between permanency and the traces of a present that becomes past, a future already present.’
(Mathieu Copeland, Choreographing Exhibitions, JRP Ringier, Zurich, p.23.)
From 14 March until 24 May 2015 me Collectors Room Berlin presents ‘A Book of Burning Matches: Collecting Installation Art Documents’. The exhibition examines the importance of documentation in Installation Art and presents the collection of documents assembled by London based-curators Nicolas de Oliveira (German/Portuguese) und Nicola Oxley (British) spanning three decades.
The material displayed takes the form of analogue and digital photographs, videos, sound-recordings, texts, models and objects. The collection of these artifacts and documents are witnesses to Installation Art’s fugitive, ephemeral nature, and points towards an artform that stresses the point of contact with the visitor – its reception.
The two curators restage the historical material, proposing a choreographed movement through the archive. This proposition is borne out of the desire to reveal how ephemeral works may be chronicled, archived and displayed. The material displayed therefore does not seek to replace past installations and performances nor is it presented as immutable historical documentation. It is rather able to reactivate – to rematerialize – the original work in the spectator’s imagination and to extend aspects of the work’s life, what can lead to divergent positions and outcomes in the reception.
In addition to installation documents by artists such as Mischa Kuball (Germany), Phyllida Barlow (Britain), Andrea Büttner (Germany) and Lucia Nogueira (Brazil), which were shown in the gallery spaces of the two curators and in independent exhibitions in Britain, Europe and America, the exhibition also features a number of newly made interventions by artists already present in the archive, including Hans Op de Beeck (Belgium), Stefan Brüggemann (Mexico), Tina Gverovic (Croatia), David Price, Barnaby Hosking, David Allen and Ben Cain (all British).
The exhibition is accompanied by a sound design of the American media curator Alejandro Ball.
A companion publication to ‘A Book of Burning Matches: Collecting Installation Art Documents’ will be published through Mulberry Tree Press.
1) Archive Detail, Photo: Franziska Nicolaus
2) Archive Detail, Photo: Franziska Nicolaus
3) Barnaby Hosking, Habitat, Installation detail, 2014, Photo: Peter Kidd
4) Tina Gverović, Or an Island or a Boat, 2013, Photo: Peter Kidd
5) Phyllida Barlow, Expanse, Installation, 1987, Photo: Edward Woodman
6) Hans Op de Beeck, Location , 1998 (2002), Photo: Edward Woodman