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an exhibition trilogy with 3 different collections


Stefan Demming and Michael Rieken

@ Kunsthalle Weseke  2019

All collecting is preceded by a school of seeing. The collector must see, recognize and find what he considers collectible. In this respect, the work of a collector is similar to that of an artist. For Stefan Demming and Michael Rieken, this parallelism is the starting point for their exhibition trilogy “Collected”.


However, the fact that an artist deals differently with what he sees and finds than a collector does opens up new possibilities for experiencing the objects in a collection. For the three different collections that Demming and Rieken work with, they will each create their own rooms. They are particularly interested in the sound and lighting design of the space, as well as the arrangement of the objects and their relationship to other objects in the exhibition space

GESAMMELTES I: Fahrräder (Collected I: Bicycles)

bicycles from the bicycle collection of Manfred Radefeld, gramophone, seasonal flowers, video with a short sequence of a woman riding a bicycle, light, a soundtrack consisting of gramophone crackling, samples of lower-pitched bicycle bells and bel canto recordings from the 20s

In the first exhibition of the exhibition trilogy, Demming and Rieken showed exhibits from the bicycle collection of Manfred Radefeld from Weseke. Most of the bicycles come from the first half of the 20th century. During this time, it was inventions such as bicycles, films and gramophones that opened up new possibilities for mobility and the freedoms associated with them. The bicycle suddenly made it possible to explore the wider area for work and leisure, and bicycle excursions became popular in the 1920s. The portable gramophone was also developed for this purpose. It offered the opportunity to enjoy music away from the intended locations such as the opera house, concert hall or music hall - even outdoors. This combination of bicycle, gramophone and excursion into nature was explored in the exhibition.


GESAMMELTES II: Porzellan (Collected II: Porcelain)

porcelain from Thea Lübberdink's collection, percussion mallets, loudspeaker chassis, mussels, snails, coconut fat, dried fruit, cable, coconut, black silk paper, pedestals, a video with upside down and very slowly faded photos by Willi Moegle made for the porcelain manufactur Arzberg, a soundtrack of the sampled and digitally processed sounds of the exhibition pieces.

Demming and Rieken chose everyday porcelain from Thea Lübberdink's collection for the second exhibition in the "Collected" trilogy. This includes mostly exhibits from the Arzberg manufactory from the 1930s to the 1960s. They were created by the designers Gretsch and Loffelhardt. The latter in particular had a stylistic influence in the period after the Second World War by picking up design features from the Werkbund and Bauhaus and looking for the "good form" of a timeless design.

As with “Collected #1”, Demming and Rieken do not expose individual design classics in their supposed aura. Rather, they try to break them up by playfully placing the objects in new systems of order. In doing so, they use both rational-functional reduction and the (opposite) strategy of expressive and ironic overload. In addition to the arrangement of the exhibits in space, her design tools are primarily light and a generative sound collage, which is created by sounds produced with some exhibits and their processing.


GESAMMELTES III: Chipstüten (Collected III: Chip bags)

chip bags from the collection of Bernd Sikoraautumn leaves, ladder, washing line, armchair, an edition with 5 bags of chips, golden cloth, upholstered armchair, loudspeaker chassis, a soundtrack that alienates small snippets of baroque harpsichord music with audio effects

With 3,500 to 4,000 different chip bags from different countries, the collector has already made it into the Guinness Book of Records and only recently made it onto television. In their spatial staging of the chips bag collection, Demming/Rieken also play with the tonal connection to collector Bernd Sikora's other passion: baroque music. The musician Sikora first presented his collection to us on a harpsichord in his living room. Michael Rieken used this track to cut pieces by well-known Baroque composers into loops. These "sound chips" are seasoned with different audio effects that put their stamp on the soundtrack.


Similar to how the collector collects seemingly useless things at random (who keeps the leftovers of what has been eaten, the packaging of past delicacies?), the artists designed the floor of the room by collecting autumn leaves, which when dried become crunchy like chips. This floor space can in turn be playfully changed by visitors big and small. A ladder allows a view beyond the chip bag sky.


An edition of "Cembalo Chips" created especially for the exhibition - paper bag objects with a filling of harpsichord pieces and leaves - is named after 5 Baroque composers and designed with their portraits.


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