“This probably will not work” is a quote by american artist Jimmie Durham, which perfectly describes the concept of a utopia—an ideal state to strive for, while any realisation of it cannot be possible. Although the statement might sound pessimistic at first glance, the subtle word “probably” makes sure we stay active. With this title, Lothringer13 Halle invited three artists to produce new work on site. Stefan Burger, Federico Delfrati and Kostis Velonis concentrate on problems which require a certain bravery to fail.
Most of our actions demand something to come out of it, an impression of progress or a functional aspect to it. To believe in this benefit or an assumed improvement is the impulse—but only a tiny spark of hope is needed to ignore all doubts and implausibilities. With different intentions, the three artists approach a preassigned mode of success, they question or challenge it. A Greek, a Swiss and an Italian walk into a Munich hall… This could be the possible beginning of a meta-joke, and a multitude of punch lines come to mind, but not to speech. The humour of the show is more subtle, subversive or even garnished with a taste of desperation.
Federico Delfrati reminds us of the dream of flying, which is symbolised to children in the form of a swing and enjoines them from a very young age on to fly at a higher game. Migrated from Milan to Munich, the artist enthusiastically engineered a swing, which might move forward, while simultaneously not making headway. It’s still unclear if there will be more than sketches and documentation left to prove the short success, or if his vision actually became reality. In the end Delfrati’s interest lies in the uncertainty, the tension before succeeding or failing, and in all the new questions, which came up during the process.
With the title Tagesstätten für psychische Gesundheit 1–8 (lit. “day care for mental health 1–8”), Stefan Burger designed resting facilities for the elastic condition of mental states. Zones for the physical stopover and tools for the bodily hygiene encounter seemingly neurotic mottoes or are combined with codes of micro-social groups. Material of unknown origin unwillingly finds itself in an exhibition space, seeking the communication with Munich art people. You need to ask: Where to locate linguistic agreement? Do certain normative systems understand me and who can I count on anyways? The winning moment remains merchandising.
For Kostis Velonis objects function in a different way. Actions are missing; It is uncertain if they already were, are yet to come or won’t ever happen. Velonis creates visions of democratic ideals and political models based
on confraternity, which—depending on the respective disposition—appear radical or naive. Poor architecture feeds upon rich references and runs through the whole space with imagined or honest patina, while the titles work in extra shifts. A (E)utopia? Velonis’ sculptures transport historic ideologies into the now, if as demand or questions stays open.
A walk through the hall confronts the visitor with a redistribution between failure and success. We break through physical laws, remember old ideals and question the local condition.