(or, more specifically, today’s capitalist society), and their ability to act within it. Her central concerns since the mid-1980s have been the examination of political issues by artistic means, and, closely intertwined with this, ethics, which she understands as a moral imperative to strive for enlightenment – for naming, revealing and highlighting the manifold injustices of the world, and for ‘having the heart’ to be consequent to her unwillingness to accept things as they are.1 Creischer’s projects range from individual works – mostly in performance and installation form – to collaborative productions with other artists and cultural practitioners (first and foremost with her partner, Andreas Siekmann), curatorial projects and critical writing. The multidisciplinary character of her production emerged from the Dusseldorf Art Academy and the Dusseldorf and Cologne art scenes in the 1980s, where political (and feminist) engagement was rare.
Creischer’s work from that period, such as the text- based installations Alle Tage Jericho, Ich Die Posaune (All Days Jericho/Me the Trombone, 1982) or Der Geburtstag (The Birthday, 1986), were experiments with handcrafted machines, which she installed in the exhibition space or took through the city, transforming them into performative tools. All Days Jericho, for instance, was an apparatus on wheels that Creischer pushed through Dusseldorf on foot whilst reciting a text that discussed this very action and which was amplified via a tube with several membranes. A system of mirrors facilitated navigation for the ‘driver’, and two cones re-directed sound from the environment back to the pilot. These early experiments with DIY technology examined the relation between text and image, and the viewers’ apprehension of the two on equal terms. Such investigation was followed in works like Die Betrachtung (The Contemplation, 1984) and Eine Operette (An Operetta, 1986) in the 1980s, and she still pursues it in current installations, in which text plays a crucial part (see, for example, Apparat zum osmotischen Druckausgleich von Reichtum bei der Betrachtung von Armut, or Apparatus for the Osmotic Compensation of the Pressure of Wealth During the Contemplation of Poverty, 2005-08, which I discuss later).
While her early works concentrated on the individual’s relation to the world, Creischer’s later works began to deal more explicitly with the search for a meaningful life, the living conditions in a capitalist society, consumerism and the logic of exploitation. For her short play ‘Verbrechen aus Leidenschaft’ (‘Crime out of Passion’, 1987), she developed a simple structure reminiscent of Brechtian pedagocial plays: the character Delarue is confronted with a realisation of the ‘infinite lack of being’2 when he meets his counterpart Pourpaubre, in whom the insignificance and emptiness of his own life is mirrored. Delarue falls into despair and dreams, almost as an escape, of erasing all banknotes, shares and other capitalist values in the world, as well as people’s desire to own them.
This critical impulse also led Creischer, in the early 1990s, to temporarily stop making her own work and to collaborate instead with the artists’ groups Sammlung Brinkmann, Microstudio surplus and the initiative Park Fiction. With Andreas Siekmann, Birger Hübel, Michaela Odinius and Dierk Schmidt, she organised the alternative art fair Messe2ok. ÖkonoMiese machen in 1995. A self-organised, selffinanced project, Messe2ok took place parallel to Art Cologne, in the empty halls of the former Cologne post-office headquarters, and hosted panel discussions on the art-world economy from a critical perspective in addition to presenting artworks. As Creischer recollects in the project’s documentation, the fair brought together all those who ‘use the art context for project-based, theoretical and/or collective working methods’ and gave them the opportunity to approach ‘conventional art practice with a different kind of production and mediation’ [...].
Afterall | Keep Going! Ethics and the Political in the Work of Alice Creischer by Ellen Blumenstein
This is a selected news. Every week we select the best articles about creative fields. You can see the original source here.