Ingo Vetter (geb. 1968, Bensheim, BRD) arbeitet skulptural, mit Fotografie und Installationen. Er stellt international aus und kooperiert dabei häufig mit anderen Künstlerinnen und Künstlern in Langzeitprojekten wie dem Detroiter Tree of Heaven Woodshop. Vetter verfolgte hier anhand des wild wuchernden Götterbaumes, den chinesische Arbeitsmigranten im 19. Jahrhundert nach Amerika brachten, die Spuren der Industrialisierung. Heute ist der Wildwuchs des Baumes ein Zeichen der industriellen Krise. Sein Interesse an der Entwicklung von Stadt und Konzepten des öffentlichen Raums führten ihn zu ausufernden Rechercheunternehmungen, wie etwa im Falle eines öffentlichen Denkmals in Kiruna, einer Bergbaustadt in Nordschweden. Immer wieder geht es in seinen Arbeiten um die Verlangsamung oder Stillstellung von Arbeitsprozessen. So legte er im niederösterreichischen Mistelbach gegenüber arbeitenden Windrädern den Mast eines ausgedienten Windrads als Horizontalturm. Ein weiteres Thema seiner künstlerischen Arbeiten ist Produktionsästhetik, der er sich etwa als ausgebildeter Keramiker traditioneller und industrieller Fertigung von Tontöpfen widmete. Ingo Vetter lebt und arbeitet in Bremen.
For the Month of Arts Practice by the Heritage Space Hanoi, three classic sculptures of modern art were rebuilt as inflatable objects: Endless Column by Constantin Brancusi 1938, Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman 1966 and Recumbent Figure by Henry Moore 1938. The selection is based on the search for iconic sculptures for the age of modernism (1930-1970) and its understanding of universalism. These sculptures could be seen as ancestors of public art and even if the subject had a vast development since these days, the utopian aspects and the idea of autonomous sculptures are worth re-visiting.
Having lightweight inflatable objects instead of steel, stone or bronze sculptures, makes them more movable and combines monumentality with flexibility - in this case the plan, to erect the objects temporarily on different places in Hanoi. And the new materiality makes the iconic sculptures negotiable - they appear more like a toolkit for public spaces.
The title Family Constellations refers to an alternative therapeutic method, where participants are placed in a room and this spatial constellation should help to solve traumas or communication conflicts. The method is unsound and full of prejudice, but delivers quick results and so remains popular. Applying this to public spaces in Hanoi, challenges general questions of its specific uses and models of artistic engagement. As the Constellations are never solid and many different aspects should be seen, it was important to install the Family on different places throughout the city.
The selection of sculptures (which also can be seen as artistic ancestors) and the associated conception of public space is of course a very European idea. Even if there is barely any public art like this to be found in Hanoi, the urban spaces aren’t blank. There are many overlapping layers of uses, interests and representations - to call them polyvalent spaces seems more appropriate. On every site of installation, Family Constellation encountered existing market, parking, sport or gathering places, propaganda sculptures or feng shui objects. These meetings were documented and a video montage will be shown in the exhibition together with the toolkit of inflatables.
Realized with the help of:
Nguyễn Anh Tuấn and Vũ Huy Thông - coordination in Vietnam
Trần Trọng Tri and Lê Hùng- framework and installations
Shuling Yuan - coordination in China and video documentation
Inflatables made by Guangzhou Bingo Inflatables Co., Ltd, China
Die Amphoren der Serie Generika erinnern an südeuropäisches und asiatisches Altertum, an individuelle, kunstvolle Handarbeit also. Ihre schwere Masse entspricht nicht ihrem Material: so grob die Gefäße auch aussehen mögen, sie sind aus feinem französischen Porzellan gegossen. Ihre Prototypen hat Vetter aus Styropor gedrechselt. Die Oberflächen der Töpfe erinnern daran. Die leichten und gefälligen Farben ihrer Innenseiten lassen an billige Vasen aus dem Baumarkt oder Dekorationsgeschäft denken. Tatsächlich hat Vetter sie für die Galerie in kleinen Serien produziert.
Die Gefäße der Serie "Neue Form" sind gedrehte Einzelstücke, obgleich ihre Vorbilder, die Eimer, Dosen und Flaschen, industriell gefertigte Massenprodukte sind. In ihrer Gestalt, Farbe und Bemalung spielen sie auf traditionelles deutsches Bauerngeschirr an, Westerwälder Steinzeug, dessen Geschichte bis ins Mittelalter zurückreicht. Die westdeutsche Salzkeramik ist ähnlich dem chinesischen Porzellan weltberühmt. Obwohl die Gegenstände selbst der Massenwarenwelt entstammen, wirken sie mit ihren hellen Farben und den aus Messing gefertigten Kappen, Laschen und Henkeln edel.
2009 | A landscape design of the entrance roundabout in Gävle, Sweden, including a sculptural intervention. The focus is on the green spaces at the entry of this city. The sculpture part is about Priapus, the ancient god of fertility and guard over the gardens. He is ugly and obscene and therefore soused with red color and hidden in the bushes. For the roundabout, his herm is as a matter of course a car.
Mit Annette Weisser | 2002-2003
Ausgehend von der hinlänglich bekannten These, dass im Postfordismus die Fabrik in die Subjekte hineinwandert, um dort ihr Zwangsregime zu entfalten, haben wir im November/Dezember 2002 eine Ausstellung, zwei Workshops und zwei Diskussionsabende in der halle_für_kunst (Lüneburg) und dem Forum Stadtpark (Graz) unter dem Titel "NameGame" veranstaltet, um Theorie mit Praxis gegenzulesen. Vor allem die Form des Workshop mit seinen Anklängen an Selbsterfahrung und Gruppentherapie schien uns geeignet, solch subtilen psychodynamischen Prozessen auf die Spur zu kommen. Wir wollten einen Raum schaffen, angesiedelt zwischen der Privatheit eines Kneipenabends und der Öffentlichkeit einer Fernsehshow, in dem es möglich ist, sich über Existenzängste, Konkurrenzsituationen, Überforderungen und Zumutungen auszutauschen, die das Leben als "Ich- AG" so mit sich bringt. Dazu haben wir MedienarbeiterInnen, KulturarbeiterInnen, WissenschaftlerInnen und ArchitektInnen eingeladen, ein Studio mit Showtreppe gebaut und uns einige Spiele zur Auflockerung ausgedacht. Die Kulisse greift Elemente – Stroh und Gold – aus dem Märchen vom Rumpelstilzchen auf. Und ebenso wie im Märchen ging es in den Gesprächsrunden darum, das zu benennen, was einerseits zu Höchstleistungen antreibt, andererseits “das Lebendige“ einfordert, denn mit weniger gibt sich das Rumpelstilzchen nicht zufrieden. Wir haben dabei vorgeschlagen, das Rumpelstilzchen nicht als eigenständiges Wesen zu interpretieren, sondern als Prinzip – vielleicht so etwas wie der kapitalistische Weltgeist – welches alle zwischenmenschlichen Bereiche durchzieht.
Eine Dokumentation der moderierten Gesprächsrunden sowie Interviews mit verschiedenen "ExpertInnen der Prekarität" ist 2003 als Katalog erschienen.
Mit Annette Weisser | 2002
Conversation with Lisa Le Feuvre
Rumours of sculpture:
a conversation between Ingo Vetter and Lisa Le Feuvre
Ingo Vetter: Let’s begin with a short introduction to Family Constellation. It all started with an invitation to Hanoi in 2017. The work is a group of inflatable objects that point to three iconic examples of Modernist sculpture. I was asked to develop a new artwork for Month of Art Practice (MAP), an annual international event organised by Heritage Space, one of the few independent art venues in Vietnam. I particularly wanted to work with art in public space. The concept of public spaces in Vietnam, and in Asia in general, is very different to that of Europe. Public spaces – so places where people gather – have a multi-purpose use: a traffic island might be a badminton field and a marketplace, as well as the assembling place of the neighbourhood or of the university. In the case of Hanoi, large urban spaces often have symbolic functions – they are sites for army parades, festivals, or rallies by the communist party. The public sphere has many layers, and it is not the place where civil society is nurtured, it is not the political sphere in the tradition of the Greek agora.
Lisa Le Feuvre: It’s a space of dogmatic representation rather than dialogical representation?
IV: Right. In the Asian understanding, common space is either an extension of private space like a neighbourhood courtyard or a village space – you know, like a location designated suitable for trade and markets, or for traffic, or it is a space that has symbolic meaning. Coming from a European understanding of urban patterns, it is difficult to read these spaces. The confusion in Hanoi comes from the superimposition of the traditional Vietnamese village-like organisation of neighbourhoods with the colonial French layout of alleys and squares. As for public sculpture, there are monuments, that are usually either sculpted propaganda or Feng shui objects taking the form of things like water basins or lions. In the older places in Hanoi, you might find important trees or scholar’s rocks.
LLF: You mentioned that in Hanoi the official idea of public art is limited to propaganda sculpture. Of course, many European monuments have propaganda like qualities to them, and I can’t imagine a French square without a monument, but there are then other public sculptures.
IV: Even if contemporary Vietnamese artists have quite different ideas and concepts that are far from propaganda sculpture, censorship is rigid, and it is not possible for them to do something else that can stand its ground in public space. The two art universities in Vietnam, as well as Hanoi University of Industrial Arts, have courses in propaganda art. For many sculptors this is a regular part of their work, and propaganda sculpture took up stories and heroes of the revolution and the socialist development of Vietnam. The government recently published a list of the fourteen desirable historical characters for public monuments. It starts with Hùng Vương, the first mythical king of ancient Vietnam, and ends with Hồ Chí Minh, the first President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Certain kings from the period before socialism have been rehabilitated; they are now regarded as having contributed to the social good. This list of historical figures is a political decision and the realisation of monuments all over the country is planned into 2035.
LLF: When it comes to definitions of public space, I always find Jean-Luc Nancy’s distinction between the realms of politics and the political super-useful. He describes that the realm of political is a place of dissensus, discussion, and disagreement – and it’s something that takes place in public space. On the other hand, politics is more basic: it is simply the administration of the political. From what you are describing, in Hanoi public space is in the realm of the politics rather than the political. Modernist sculpture on the other hand tends to lurk around in the realm of the political.
IV: Vietnamese political structures are aware of the potential of public space as a realm of the political, that’s why representation is under the strict control of the government. Everything concerning contemporary art is seen as unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Censorship and ways to work around it formed the context of my proposal for Hanoi. Raising the idea of iconic sculptures in the legacy of Modernism evokes Western ideas of Modern sculpture and universal representation. I wanted to have a Henry Moore reclining figure; to bring in Constantin Brâncuși's Endless Column, and Barnett Newman's Broken Obelisk to these public spaces. They are all artworks from the time of Modernism, spanning the 1930s to the 1970s, and somehow, to me, these are the ancestors of public art. I wanted to bring those particular objects to this particular understanding of public space in Vietnam to see what they might do.
LLF: What do you mean?
IV: They are each statements of a kind, and I placed them in sites very different from their usual habitats. I wanted to know how these classic Modernist sculptures would sit in these dogmatic spaces where all the sculpture is either propaganda or Feng shui. These sculptures of Modernism are present in size and material, abstract in form, international in style, and purport to be universal in language. This is, of course, questionable but they are still so appealing – for example, the city authorities in Hong Kong moved a Henry Moore sculpture to the commercial city centre as recently as 2008.
LLF : Is public art in Vietnam all figurative? Is there no tradition or tendency to have non-representational sculpture?
IV: Abstraction was never an official cultural policy in Vietnam. You can find abstract art in private collections, and there is a lot of fantastic work to see. But the only islands of abstract art in the public realm are the remaining works of international sculpture symposia that took place in Hanoi 1995 and then later in Hue, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City. The artist Nguyễn Thế Sơn organised some urban art activities recently, but projects such as his art walk in Hanoi’s riverside area Phuc Tan in 2020 were only possible because they were announced as “cleaning and beautifying activities” rather than as art.
LLF: How did you choose the sites, given the restrictions?
IV: Any attempt to get permission was impossible. We were proposing to present these as performances, as temporary sculptures. We tried for months, and it didn’t work out. With any intervention in public space the police are guaranteed to immediately come, and if you don't have a paper, you're really in trouble. So, we then looked for semi-public spaces, spaces belonging to housing complexes and universities. Nonetheless, the need was to have something which is very quick to install and de-install. In case there was trouble, we would need to be able to disappear before anyone finds out what exactly we did wrong. The solution was to develop these Modernist sculptures as inflatable figures, rent a truck, have a couple of people to help, and go to the different places, install them, inflate them, and document the arrangement. In Hanoi we found four places. Each site was multi-layered and by adding these Modernist sculptures I simply added another layer to the site.
LLF: Why did you choose these three sculptures? They are iconic. They are on the syllabi of any art school undergraduate course, and they embody ‘proper’ sculpture. They're big and they're solid and they're subject to gravity. There are others that you could have chosen. . .
IV: . . . it comes from my development as a sculptor. I was, and I am, very interested in the production of sculpture. If I'm an artist working with public space, I need to ask what the cornerstones of my reference system are, especially if I come to a site which is not of my cultural background. I want to ask: what do you find out when you position these sculptures beside each other? What dramas and conflicts are you able to solve? And having them as inflatables brings in humour –the Endless Column swings in the wind, the reclining figure is bouncing around, and the Broken Obelisk never will be straight. The new materiality makes the iconic sculptures negotiable – they appear like a toolkit for public spaces. The title Family Constellation refers to an alternative therapeutic method where participants are placed in a room and, it is thought, that simply this spatial constellation can help to solve traumas or communication conflicts. The method is unsound and laden with prejudice but delivers quick results and so remains popular. Applying this to public spaces in Hanoi challenges general questions of the specific uses and models of artistic engagement in these sites. As the Constellations are not fixed, and I wanted many different aspects to be seen, it was important to install the Family in different places throughout the city.
LLF: I'd like to ask a difficult and perhaps quite argumentative question. Why did you not choose Barbara Hepworth? She made a sculpture called Family of Man, after all. It is another iconic modernist sculpture. Newman, Moore, Brâncuși, these are the ones that are the named by art history. Barbara Hepworth has been dropped out, and you replicated this omission here too.
IV: Good question. We are talking about a therapy method and, as I experienced my socialisation in sculpture, all the figures I was exposed to were men. Asking “where are the women” in my education didn't show up. Bringing in Hepworth would have changed the constellation and made it more interesting. Still, though, the question of universalism and representation would have been the same.
LLF: Well, we are looking at the establishment, the mainstream – it is structurally a monoculture. All three of these sculptures are magnets for different sets of values. There's sculptural value, the way that they sit within the history of sculpture. There's material value, what they are made of. There is literal exchange value, what they are worth. Then, they are ciphers for symbolic value: if a location has one of these sculptures, it announces that the location ascribes to and inhabits values of universalism and internationalism. A Henry Moore sculpture is a chess piece in international politics through its use. I can’t hold myself back from saying one lateral thing about Moore’s sculptures. You know, a sculpture by Moore is rarely questioned, but there are questions that need to be asked. If there was an artist working today who made monumental female figures lying around being passive, or if they're doing anything they would be being a mother, questions would need to be asked. Back to value: one of the central values of these monumental sculptures is that they are meant to be permanent and singular and fixed. And that's a complete fiction. The contingency of these modernist sculptures, their multiplicity, and their representations interest me.
IV: There are dozens of versions of Brâncuși's Endless Column - small ones, room sized ones, right through to the monumental size. Brâncuși's sculpture comes from his reflections on traditional art from Romania, which developed into a universal figure. I like images from exhibitions in Brâncuși's time where he installed the sculptures in the garden and the gallery in an almost random way. Then if you look at his atelier, which is at Centre Pompidou, the sculptures are just stacked in the corner. Henry Moore fascinates me too - he was a diplomat of art, he sold in his time more than any other artist, and his work was so attractive for municipalities and architects. Politicians want to be seen together with his sculptures as an articulation of modernism, of universalism. You know, Barnett Newman's sculpture is an edition. And I have found it so wonderful to see the images of its production place – a row of Broken Obelisks in all their Corten steel materiality. What could be better than to make inflatable versions and then bring them into discussions? I follow Moore, Brâncuși and Newman into inflatables made of nylon.
LLF: Could you describe a little about the production of the sculptures?
IV: I produced the objects together with Bingo Inflatables, a company in Guangzhou, China, which is the world capital for inflatables. It was a really nice communication and development process with them. I made some drawings and digital modelling, but they were the experts for unrolling three-dimensional shapes and creating patterns, and they found their own solutions. For the final stages of the production, I went to Guangzhou and worked directly in the process. From Guangzhou, I sent them to Hanoi where they were first exhibited.
LLF: I would like to think about the comedy, the humour of Family Constellation. Comedy and humour are devices to make people connect with something. There is this moment of almost childish wonder of coming across this crazy thing of this big Endless Column bouncing around, like those tubes in car showrooms, or a bouncy castle you might jump around on. It makes you stop and look, and then talk and say to your friends, "Oh, did you see that thing?" Comedy is a connection that creates an articulation. The rumour of the sculptures is part of their materiality, and their mobility.
IV: The mobility of these inflatables, of Family Constellation, is important. When you are educated in western art schools, you are educated with some luggage that you move around with. So, if I'm going to an exhibition in the world and I can carry these sculptures in my suitcases, that's bringing it to a very concrete level. I move these sculptures in big suitcases. Modernist sculpture is a gesture of authority. Normally these objects are placed in front of representational architecture – housing complexes, offices, or state institutions. That's the proper realm for these sculptures. Making the work soft and inflatable questions this kind of authority. The comedic part is the behaviour of these inflatables in the wind and in these situations, they, I would say, deconstruct the authority which the sculpture has in itself. We had monsoon rain and storms with some of the installations, and coping with the elements imposed an unexpected layer. It was really funny to see the sculptures so lively, but it was also a moment of losing control. When I talk about public art here in Germany many of the municipalities want an event, something temporary because sculpture is too disturbing to have longevity. This has somehow brought me to be a defender for the material appearance of sculpture, for weight, volume, for a lack of flexibility. Something you can’t move. I really like these aspects – a body of resistance in our cities of capitalist rule. To have these inflatable versions is to pose the question “what is the sculpture here”? What do you appreciate? Is it the performance of it, or is it the physical presence?
LLF: Values of sculpture – yes, one of my obsessions – are always changing. You talk about heavy immovable sculpture: in our times, now in 2023, such a sculpture is a body of resistance because it says no. The sculpture effect says, “I am taking up space.” But if we were talking ten years ago, maybe fifteen years ago, to be resistant would be to make sculpture that was entirely contingent. Family Constellation did one thing in Hanoi, what did it do in its next site?
IV: After Hanoi, I reinstalled them in big scale social housing areas in Bremen, and right now in villages around Springhornhof in rural locations, and in the context of a collection of Land Art. In Bremen the housing complexes were built according to a proposal for how people should live together – some of these buildings were made in the 1960s with an idea of society that is of its time. Today we discuss the need for social and affordable housing in different ways. To go to one of those big-scale complexes and to inflate the sculptures poses the question of where the idea of public, or common, space comes from. It is important to think about what kind of ideology is connected to it here, and how that is visible. To place Endless Column in front of a twenty-floor social housing tower was to say this rundown complex is worth showing, worth paying attention to. Just for a moment, I was able to construct a representational public square; for a moment, to show the promise of public space, that society was constituted here, and that community was possible. Traveling around with Family Constellation is to travel with old icons of sculpture. I'm somehow like a sales agent of this old Modernist concept. I travel somewhere and say, "Hey, look at this. I have something in my suitcase." I like the idea of reintroducing this old promise of public space – openness, accessibility, and participation – and of questioning the situations where they are installed. They bring this idea of internationalism and universalism to every corner that you place them in. I think it's really interesting to make heavy stone sculptures again because they are lying around, and you can't move them. This comes from a whole entire discussion about the invisibility or the appearance of work.
LLF: I am thinking about all those classic definitions of what matters in sculpture. One of my favourites is William Tucker's – in The Language of Sculpture he writes that sculpture is subject to gravity and revealed in light. Family Constellation is concerned with gravity, but in a very different way from the Modernist sculptures. Another one of my favourite sculptural definitions is from Lawrence Weiner, when he talks about sculptures being simply relations between human beings and objects, and objects and human beings. Sculpture is very much about size and scale – in fact Robert Smithson argued that scale mattered, size was unimportant. Scale is another relative or interconnected value. In the 1960s the temporal aspect of sculpture became increasingly important, and little-by-little the currency of Modernism dissolved.It seems that with your Family Constellation, it's doing all these things. It's subject to gravity. It's revealed in light. It's about scale. It's about the interaction between objects and people. And it's temporal. Sculpture has so often been made to appear to be out of time. A reclining Henry Moore, in theory, will be the same until the end of time. And if you look at disaster science fiction movies, often the only thing that remains when the entire city infrastructure falls apart is sculpture. With Family Constellation, your objects – and I want to insist on calling them objects – are going to have scars and they're going to get old.
IV: The inflatables suffer every time I install them. They get scars that I have to repair. They get dirty and have marks of usage. Soon they will look old and shabby and will just be the remains of something. Which is quite nice. That is the funny gesture of inflatables, they say “Hello, here I am and look at me!” and after the performance, they deflate and appear very very tired. Here for the exhibition at Springhornhof, they will be seen in small villages rather than a metropolitan situation. I searched for public square-like situations where society meets, sometimes it's a petrol station, other times a potato silo or a market space. When they are inflated, a moment of modernity and representation materialises.
LLF: Modernist magnet sculptures are always placed in sites of power. Every layer of this work is concerned with power, right down to the literal power – they can only become alive by being plugged into a system. And values course through systems. It's the veins of power. Politicians, the mayor, the ones who hold the power like to be pictured in front of Modernist public sculpture. Visitors too – you take your picture by the remarkable public sculpture as proof of being in a place. Springhornhof has gathered an expanded collection of Land Art since the 1970s – Land Art is in many ways a media art; it circulates as much through its representation and rumour as it does through site visits.
IV: The aspect of the rumour is very important because these sculptures only appear for a couple of hours. Someone sees them and askes the neighbour if they have seen the Henry Moore. Creating these kinds of rumours is important because the rumour has that core question: how do we deal with representation in those squares?
LLF: Desire and disappointment are central to Land Art. Often – but not always – examples of Land Art are located outside of metropolitan centres and there is a need, and a desire, to travel to them, to visit these specific sites. And then when you travel to experience the thing that you've read about, it's always a disappointment, because then it simply is, rather than being a wished for thing. The relationship between disappointment and sculpture I like very much because it's so incredibly human, and so much of the world. You put this rumour out into the world, in the village in this case. There'll be excitement. But of course, when people ride up on their bicycles or they drive or they walk, they take a break from what they would have been doing on a Saturday afternoon, inevitably, there'll be people saying, "Is that all it is?" And the answer is, well, "yes".
IV: Land Art, landscape art – this is the context of this exhibition at Springhornhof. There are almost fifty artworks installed in and around Neuenkirchen and its neighbouring villages. The beginnings of this collection were sculpture symposia in the 1970s organised by a commercial gallery, and later this became an institution, a Kunstverein, with funding from the federal state and ongoing commissions for artists, to work and intervene with the rural villages and the landscape of the Lüneburg Heath. I place those Modernist classics in relation to all the other work in the collection. When you arrive to the exhibition space, you take a bicycle, and you go into the landscape and search for all these sculptures. Some of them are disappointing, some of them are wonderful. And the experience always depends on the weather, and if there are mushrooms or not.
LLF: At Springhornhof you will be presenting an installation formed from the documentation of the various presentations of Family Constellation. Can you explain the process of filming?
IV: The filming so far has been very formal, it uses the vocabulary of documentation with standard shots. What you see is the appearance of these sculptures on those sites. You see people in the squares, between each sculpture, touching them, asking questions. You see one place after the other, the inflatables in different constellations, on different sites, and you see what is changing between those different installations. You have odd things that change: one is windier than the other, one has more people in it. It’s not spectacular. Questioning the work and this constellation in itself and questioning those squares of public appearance in a row, that’s the important element. Inflatables require an action, they are a heap of soft nylon at the start, then I plug them in, and slowly the air fills their form. They seem solid and certainly take up space, but they are not fixed, they are fluid, malleable, contingent on the vicissitudes of the weather. The sculptures perform, they move in the wind and wiggle around when touched. They leave their static ‘sculptureness’ behind and become actors in the videos.
LLF: Utopian architecture of the 1960s was full of inflatables – in Britain, for example, there was Archigram and Graham Stevens.
IV: Exactly. I mean, this utopian moment is like the promise of a better future, a belief in technical solutions, endless fossil fuels, and world-peace-humanism, an echo from former times. Again, it’s this idea of the sales agent selling an old promise. And the intended question is, why haven't those promises been fulfilled?
LLF: Echoes are amazing and wonderful things. They’re immaterial. They amplify one annunciation, and then feed it back to you. And they defy time as well. That’s what it seems to me your Family Constellation is doing. It’s an echo of multiple moments from the past. An echo requires a listener, a receiver.
IV: With the echo comes this idea of the heritage. This title Family Constellation is about finding out something about heritage – sculptural heritage – how it echoes, not only on the sites, but also within me and the very sphere of sculpture studies.
LLF: Art history is all about echoes, and not everything echoes. For art to exist in the world, it needs its echo. There's this great thing that Giacometti said: I am paraphrasing, but he said that everything he made was a pale imitation of the world around him. And I like this phrase ‘pale imitation’. All sculpture is a pale imitation of the world. And it has to be. Because we've got the world, we don't need sculpture. By being a disappointment, by being a pale imitation, that's when sculpture can do something
IV: So, you would say that because the inflatable of a sculpture is even more disappointing than the sculpture, it’s even stronger?LLF: Even stronger. Even more disappointing. And for something to be disappointing, it's not. It's wonderful. I think disappointment is a great thing. And here's something very suspect that I'm going to claim – well try to claim. Disappointment is universal. There is no one who has not been disappointed. So maybe the universality of disappointment is a way out of Modernism, a route out of it. It's interesting to think about how an artwork enters a collection. Art collections are all about sustainable futures, for 200, 300 years – and Modernist sculpture is a staple of the museum collection. If a collection wants to acquire Family Constellation, what do they get? What are the rules? Do they get the used inflatables that are tired and dirty and frayed and old? Do they have the permission to power them up any time? Or do they get the moving image part?
IV: This old, tired fabric would be an interesting artefact. I like to think about it as a toolkit for public spaces, generating questions and glimpse-memories of its appearance. The videos are somehow the resulting documents. During the pandemic Bettina von Dziembowski, the director of Springhornhof, invited me to work with my students in Neuenkirchen. We were asked to intervene and make new work in the landscape art collection. We were there for almost two years, and it was enlightening for me to see how the students today are thinking about leaving marks in the landscape. There were some projects which really dealt with presence and long-lasting sculpture, some dealing with the question of how any addition will become a ruin, but most of the students were interested in the artwork’s disappearance.
LLF: That's a real shift, a kind of generational shift, maybe. An interest in the ruin is part of my and, I suspect, your, foundations of how we think about art.
IV :Ruins are predicated on the idea that they will be there for all eternity. Thinking about the traces we leave and how we may disappear is a change which is not spectacular, but it's a real change. Most of the works in the collection are built with erratic stones, with steel, with glass, with things which really could last forever. For most of the students such an approach was out of the question. Even the ones who used concrete, were thinking in ruins and disappearance.
When I come there and employ my inflatables, I am also dealing with this question of temporality versus permanence, and asking what kind of impression is left? What is the footprint I am leaving? My footprint will be the rumour in the village because this is how villages work, something happens, and one neighbour describes what they saw to the other.
Lisa Le Feuvre is a writer and curator. She is the inaugural Executive Director of Holt/Smithson Foundation, the artist-endowed foundation dedicated to the legacies of Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Le Feuvre previously directed the Henry Moore Institute, a centre for the study of sculpture, and was an academic based at Goldsmiths College and Birkbeck College, University of London.
Spekulationen über Skulpturen und Bäume, Kunstverein Springhornhof, Neuenkirchen
Keramik aus zweitausend Jahren, Galerie K‘, Bremen
Ingo Vetter & Magdalena Frey, Kunstverein Mistelbach, Östereich
Motorshow, centre d‘art passerelle, Brest, Frankreich
Motorshow, Le Quartier, centre d‘art contemporain, Quimper, France 2011 Motorshow, Goethe-Institut, Stockholm, Schweden
Motorshow, Survival Kit Festival, Riga, Lettland
Motorshow, Bildmuseet Umeå, Schweden
Workshop and presentation: Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop, The Noguchi Museum, New York, USA
Annette Weisser & Ingo Vetter, Works 1996 - 2006, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Münster
NameGame, plattform, Berlin
NameGame, halle_für_kunst, Lüneburg
things are falling apart, TENT, Rotterdam, Niederlande
controlled atmospheres, De Verbeelding, Zeewolde, Niederlande
Futur Perfekt, Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (mit Studenten der Hochschule für Künste Bremen),
After the riot, Galerie Ursula Walbröl, Düsseldorf,
and MARRES, Maastricht (mit Erik van Lieshout)
Was zählt, ist nicht die Gegensätze aufzulösen, sondern gleichzeitig einzunehmen. Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
Tableau, Förderverein Aktuelle Kunst, Münster, Germany
controlled atmosphere #2 Der Garten, Akademiegalerie, München
Artifizielle Ökologien (als Tree of Heaven Woodshop, mit Annette Weisser), Kasseler Kunstverein
Der Wind stößt auf eine leere Plastikflasche und sie rollt den Hügel hinunter, raus.project, Wien, Österreich
Abbruch aller Moderne, Galerie K', Bremen
Further thoughts on earthy materials, Kunshaus Hamburg
immerärgermitdengroßeltern, Kunsthaus Dresden
Further thoughts on earthy materials, GAK, Bremen
immerärgermitdengroßeltern, Künstlerhaus Sootbörn,Hamburg
Bühnenwelten/Scheinwelten, Künstlerhaus Sootbörn, Hamburg
Künstlerräume, Weserburg - Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen
Pasing by, public space, München-Pasing
Kirunatopia, Kunsthaus Dresden
Spheres of Glass, SME Gallery, San Diego, USA
My Ghetto, Shay Arye Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
Mythographies, Yaffo 23, Jerusalem, Israel
Colliding Worlds, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Wien, Österreich
Kirunatopia, Bildmuseet, Umeå, Schweden
37 platser, Valsverk, Wij Trädgårder, Ockelbo, Schweden
Best of Papa Jo’s, Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk, Cottbus
(re)designing nature, Städtische Galerie Bremen, Germany 2010 (re)designing nature, Künstlerhaus Wien, Österreich
Parkliv, Konsthall Marabouparken, Sundbyberg, SwedenKlimakapseln, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg,
Workers Leaving the Workplace, Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Polen
Metamorphose der Pflanze, Halle 10, Köln
New Beginnings, Iaspis, Stockholm, Schweden
Heartland, Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA
subvision. art. festival. off. HafenCity, Hamburg
Gartenstadt, Kunst und urbane Gärten, Kunstverein Hildesheim
Heartland, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Niederlande
Shrinking Cities – ff., Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Field Work – part 2, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsKatastrophenalarm, NGBK, Berlin
Shrinking Cities - International Analysis, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund
Shrinking Cities - International Research, Van Alen Institute, New York, USAShrinking Cities - Interventions, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, USAShrinking Cities - Interventions, SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, USA
Shrinking Cities - Interventions, Site Gallery, Liverpool, UK
Shrinking Cities - Nine Urban Ideas, Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main
Nachvollziehungsangebote, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Wien, AustriaVårsalong, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (cat.)
Walk, Kunstraum Berlin
Bin beschäftigt, Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen
working-world.net, Museum Arbeitswelt, Steyr, Österreich
Wildes Kapital, Kunsthaus, Dresden
Schrumpfende Städte/Shrinking Cities, ZfzK, Halle-Neustadt
Industriestadtfuturismus, Kunstverein, Wolfsburg
Atelier EUROPA, Kunstverein, München
Kartoffelackerstädte, Kuhhirtenbürgermeister und Rübenökonomie,Kunstraum, München
Schrumpfende Städte/Shrinking Cities, Kunstwerke, Berlin
n(ART)ürlich, Stadtraum Ulm
Nebengeräusche, Kunsthaus, Dresden, Germany (cat.)cinepolis, Film- und Architekturfestival, Hamburg
take off 1, Forum Stadtpark, Graz, Österreich
In welcher Haltung arbeiten Sie bevorzugt? Galerie HFGBK, Leipzig
Der 3. Sektor, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig and Kunstverein, Wolfsburg
Layered Histories, Staatsbank, Berlin
t.i.a. (this is america), Kunst- und Medienzentrum Adlershof, Berlin,
hell-gruen, Euroga Hofgarten, Düsseldorf
Expérimenter le réel, Centre d ́art contemporain, Albi, Frankreich
Space and time in Megalopolis, City Gallery, Prag, Czech RepublicDisfunctional Places/Displaced Functionalities, Belef Festival,
Artificial Natural Networks, De Verbeelding, Zeewolde, The Netherlands (cat.) 2000 Hey, international competition style, TENT, Rotterdam, Niederlande
Aquaplaning! Landesgartenschau Bad Oeynhausen
Real Work, 4. Werkleitz-Biennale, Werkleitz-Tornitz, Germany (cat.) 1999 Snowflake Office, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, USA
Nur Wasser läßt sich leichter schneiden, Neumühlen, Hamburg, GermanyLes occasions du travail, NICC, Antwerpen, Belgien
Videonale 8, Kunstverein, Bonn
Werk 97, Bildhauersymposion, Heidenheim, Germany (cat.)
Disturban, Kunstraum, München
Park Fiction 4, St. Pauli, Hamburg