Xander Karskens & Nettina Klein
It is considered quite normal in recent art history for two artists to join forces – many famous examples in the last thirty-five years are proof enough of this. But there is something special when two very different characters come together, espe- cially when such a collaboration would seem scarcely probable due to the fact that they studied in different places and do not necessarily share the same fields of interest. But there is something that connects Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf, which has contradicted a prototypical career of this kind throughout their lives – the two have been friends from a shared adolescence in the East Berlin street art and grafitti scene. And this is where we plunge into a wild and spectacular background which characterises so inimitably the work of this artist duo. Take the following film by the two young artists: a man is hanging by his outstretched arms from some ledge or other – a bridge, a crane or whatever. And just as you are about to place a bet as to how long he can hold on, he pulls himself up again – or maybe he simply allows himself to fall? In the installation »Decisions«, you witness this situation repeatedly from different perspectives on ten monitors and then over again in other places. Thus, the viewer at least has an opportunity to get used to this unusual event. And because habituation usually happens very quickly, it creates a completely non-specific interest in activities, for example, that are repeatedly disturbed in an unplanned way, in prohibitions that become commonplace, or in observing activities that seem impossible. And so suddenly new opportunities emerge which normally would only be the preserve of a »topsy-turvy world«. According to Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf in an outline of the project, it is all about a journey of discovery and the unconventional use of public space, in which the familiar becomes unfamiliar, unknown. The viewer is supposed to become aware, simply and quite spontaneously of – in a literal sense – free, open spaces that the two artists have conquered most artistically and subversively. This book is the first solo publication on this artist-duo and compiles an overview of all previous actions jointly performed by the pair. In 2012, the duo received the Columbus art foundation prize for contemporary art.
11 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches / 136 pp / 250 color
Retail Price: $45.00