Frameless: Wall Works in Berlin

Exhibition Review

  • "Wall Works"

  • Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin
  • 29 Nov 2013 - 31 Aug 2014
  • Wall Works: Working with the Wall Since the 1960s / Arbeiten mit der Wand seit den 1960er-Jahren

  • By Gabriele Knapstein, Udo Kittelmann and Uta Caspray
  • Text in German and English, with 172 pages, 108 color and five black-and-white illustrations
  • Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, 2014

Painting and sculpture—self-contained, unique and transportable—are the forms on which the modern art world was built. The congregating, dispersing and reconfiguring of discrete objects in and out of collections and exhibitions (with money to be made at each point of transfer) feed both the market and the museum. In the 1960s and ’70s, editions (because they are not unique) and site-specific installations (because they are not portable) were hailed as tools for undermining that system. Both are geared toward public experience and, to the extent that installations, like printing templates, are designed to be executed by people other than the artist, both appear to assault traditional notions of authenticity, displacing the artist’s hand in favor of the artist’s idea. As artists turned away from inner emotional life and toward the external world—investigating the physical environment and the social, economic and institutional workings of art—the edge of the artwork slid outward and became more mutable.

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