Not buying this

In the German gallery world, a press release has the purpose to confuse, to decontextualize, to obscure. A press release that the reader can actually understand is considered meaningless, since most readers of art gallery exhibition press releases are journalists or critics who come to see a show with the intention of writing on it, and things should not be made too easy for them for fear they might be to lazy to develop any thoughts of their own.

Unfortunately, the press release accompanying the installation “Leck” by Berlin based artist trio FORT recently on display at Galerie Crone in Berlin seemed to have been written with the intention to actually inform the reader and help him to access the meaning of the work. This is very unfortunate because it leaves nothing to say for us, we could only repeat the press release, which wouldn’t make much sense (well, this one critic here actually did just that, only in his own words, and he actually did come quite close to a typical German press release) unless we translated it into English, as it seems to exist in German only, but we are no translation agency.

What the press release doesn’t include is the mention of any of the parallels between art and commerce the installation clearly evokes. In fact, the interior of a store belonging to what was once Germany’s most successful chemist’s chain (named “Schlecker”) before it went bankrupt in spring this year so obviously offers such parallels it hurts. If we were the simple-minded, short-sighted, intellectually limited minds we hopefully aren’t we would now go on rambling about the evaluation of values, but all we really want is for a big institution to buy the work thus connecting art and commerce in the best possible way.

Once, we used to buy our toothpaste and detergents and nail polish remover and what not at that chemist. The chain was known for its cramped shops, cluttered up with merchandise unfavourably counterbalancing the lack of staff which usually meant having to wait for hours at the cashier because there was only one sales person per shop. As art installation, the generic interior of one out of more than 15.000 stores located all over Europe acquires a beauty and grandness that seems almost cynical at the thought that Schlecker offered the worst working conditions and a work climate which made it impossible for employees to complain for fear this might result in losing their jobs. Work at Schlecker was horror, a work of Schlecker is beauty – now that’s an interesting connection between art and commerce. FORT, “Leck”, Galerie Crone, Berlin, until 20 October, 2012.

FORT, Leck, 2012. Installation view Galerie Crone, Berlin 2012. All images courtesy FORT and Galerie Crone, photo© Marcus Schneider.

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