Tuning up

Einsatz für eine Sammlung in Wolfsburg

29. 5. — 25. 9. 1994


To tune up is “to attune, to bring into harmony _ to adjust pitch or of other precise functio­ning”. The Kunst­mu­seum has marshaled its instru­mental resources and presented its program to the visitors. The exhibi­tion Tuning up marks the precise moemnt when the orchestra tunes its instru­ments. For hearers and musicians alike, the concert is about to begin. Tuning up – Cue for a Collec­tion in Wolfsburg was the debut showing of the first works that the Director of the Kunst­mu­seum, Gijs van Tuyl, has acquired for it over the last eighteen months.

A foretaste of the future shape of the collec­tion is provided by additional works on loan from other museums and from private owners. The collec­tion will focus on the period between the 1960s an the present. In some cases, it will assemble major instal­la­tions and important works to represent specific phases; in others it will select groups of works that span a series of phases in the work of an indivi­dual artist.

Tuning up featured the work of some twenty-one artists from Europe and the USA. Richard Artsch­wager showed his paintings and melamine objects, which look like everyday items of furniture distorted into nonfunc­tional forms. Christian Boltanksi installed a new work at the Kunst­mu­seum. In it, the eyes of thirteen missing persons stare out at the viewer from huge sheets of parchment. His theme is not only the Holocaust but the indivi­dual fates of the countless people who go missing every day. Tony Cragg was repre­sented by a multipart plaster sculpture that combines the effects of natural and manmade erosion. Gilbert & George said: “We ar modern times artists. We have to devise a vocabu­lary which reflects this age. We don’t want to hide our weaknesses, our sexual behaviour, our thinking, our suffering, and all belongs to mankind”. There arte two works of them in the Kunst­mu­seum collec­tion. Rebecca Horn constructed a space in which two guns move around; at the instant when the two barrels align with each other, a shot is fired, while bloodlike liquid flows ceasel­essly through tubes and vessels. The Kunst­mu­seum has acquired a work by Anselm Kiefer, consis­ting of a strati­fied pile of paintings; made between 1971 and 1991, this reached comple­tion at the moment when Kiefer decided to quit Germany.

Three sculp­tures repre­sented the evolution of Jeff Koon’s work through th 1980’s. Allan McCollum showed an instal­la­tion made up of more than 10.000 separ­ately made parts; every one of these seemingly mass-produced items has a character and atmos­phere on its own. Mario Merz was repre­sented by two different works: a spiral table in glass and metal, laid with fresh fruit and vegeta­bles, and a large canvas which the initial numbers of the Fibonacci Series blaze out in blue neon light.

A number of artists have been invited to make new works for the new Kunst­mu­seum and for its home city of Wolfsburg. Matt Mullican made a ‘Data Base’ of the kind that he has previously made only in Tokio: a video work on a number of levels, which the visitor explores with the aid of a joystick. Richard Prince, who has already expressed his fasci­na­tion with automo­biles in a sculpture made up of Lambor­ghini hoods, was working in New York on new paintings for Wolfsburg. It remained to be seen whether theses reverted to the automo­bile theme. James Welling created a photo­gra­phic series in Wolfsburg itself, dealing with the city, its archi­tec­ture and inhabi­tants, an with the Volks­wagen plant, its machinery, and its workers.

For Tuning up a ‘Leporello’ (brochure) was published.

With works by Mario Merz, Tony Cragg, Allan McCollum, Richard Artsch­wager, Matt Mullican, Richard Prince, Jean Marc Busta­mante, René Daniels, Christian Boltanski, Rebecca Horn, Carl Andre, Jan Dibbets, Anselm Kiefer, Panama­renko, James Welling, Jeff Koons, Jörg Immen­dorff, Gilbert & George, Nam June Paik, Fischli/Weiss, Bernd und Hilla Becher