Fabian Knecht
31. March – 30. June 2017

Kunstverein Arnsberg is pleased to present the solo Exhibition RADITION by Fabian Knecht from 31.3.2017 until 28.5.2017. Along with four works which will be shown at the Kunstverein, the work ‘ISOLATION (Dead Tree)’, in a part of forest near Arnsberg, will be accessible to the public during the opening on 31st March from 6pm until 9pm.

The title of the exhibition ‘RADITION’ is a variation of the German mathematical term ‘radizieren’ - ‘to square-root’, from the Latin ‘radix’ (root). The exhibition is structured through a metaphorical use of this neologism, referring to the themes of ‘uprooting’ and relocation in their many different forms and facets. The focus is on variations of what has now become the classical concept of the readymade, inverted and interpreted by Knecht, diversely and unusually positioned.

‘ISOLATION (Dead Tree)’ comprises an exhibition space - a ‘white cube’ - which will be built for one evening around an uprooted tree in a forest near Arnsberg. The work inverts and fundamentally alters the concept of the readymade. Instead of bringing a piece of ‘reality’ into the exhibition space, Fabian Knecht builds a classical exhibition space in and around reality. The piece of woodland, isolated in the clear and minimal form of the white cube, is elevated in all its complexity to a work, and made newly visible ‘on the spot’. ‘ISOLATION (Dead Tree)’ is Knecht’s fifth construction of an exhibition space framing and exhibiting a segment of reality, from arctic ocean to wasteland. So far these spaces were photographically documented, now in Arnsberg the space will for the first time be accessible to the public.

For ‘ZERSETZUNG’, Fabian Knecht broke into the Château of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence, where Picasso spent the last years of his life living and working. Picasso’s grave can be found in the centre of the Château grounds, with the sculpture ‘La Femme au Vase’, shown at the universal exposition in 1937 together with ‘Guernica’, marking his final resting place. In the course of the break-in, Knecht stole a piece of grass from the surface of the grave, in which Picasso - buried in a mahogany coffin, surrounded by high walls - is physically dissipated. ‘art truly resides in nature, and whoever can pull art out of nature has got hold of it’ (Albrecht Dürer’s treatise on proportions). ‘Down he goes, into the world of giants.’ (T. J. Clark in Picasso and Truth).

(Are Picasso’s atoms there in the dried, framed and exhibited stolen piece of grass, in the small crawling worm which was fed with the grass and filmed for the work ‘ZEICHNUNG’? Dipped in sepia, drawing dark smeared lines across a piece of paper. A commentary. A cycle.)

‘VERFORMUNG (Das Glückliche Objekt)’ is comprised of a sculpturally distorted crash barrier, wrenched from its anchoring and from its everyday motorway existence, and transported by Knecht to the exhibition space. The object, distorted by a traffic accident, where it had the power to prevent death, has performed its duty and fulfilled its purpose: a lucky object.

‘ENTFERNUNG (Mast)’ shows another, this time politically uprooted readymade: the flagpole of the former American embassy in Berlin, dismounted by Knecht. The formerly erect flagpole lies lost and alone on the floor of the exhibition space. The powerful phallic national emblem is brought back down to earth. Robbed of its flag, the pole becomes a marker, a line, a border, a vector in the room. The signifier is laid bare. Just a thing. A dumb sign.

Fabian Knecht: Radition. Installation view at Kunstverein Arnsberg 2017