++ PRESS RELEASE
++ PRESSEMITTEILUNG ++
opening: 31 august, 2007, 19.00-22.00
exhibition runs 1 september – 13 october, 2007
consistent with his approach in exhibitions to date in the christian
nagel gallery in cologne and berlin – 'elbsandsteingebirge'
[elbsandstein mountain range] (1994); 'die
wagnerianer in köln' [the wagnerians in cologne] (1998);
'der deutsche jüngling' [the
german youngling] (2002) – stephan dillemuth once more investigates
contemporary images of the artist against their respective and
particular historical backgrounds. in this way, prevailing circumstances
are drawn upon to intensify awareness of present day relationships.
‘success’ positions itself first of all against the
art market, still booming at the time of writing, and against
dillemuth’s own biography.
‘success’ is also however the title of a novel by
lion feuchtwanger, who settled in munich in the early years
of the twentieth century.
in this book, feuchtwanger describes the political reaction to
a social rupture caused by the short-lived soviet republic of
after the failure of the communist utopia, decisions at that
time pertaining to the appointment of personnel, legal interpretations
and changes in the law ratcheted into each other like sprockets
in a machine and shifted, scarcely perceptibly for many, social
reality and its foundations in the rule of law.
historically, we know about the totalitarian character of the
state of exception, promoted by this very mechanism and countermanding
all democratic control.
in retrospect, it is easy to recognise that morality, once established
as above the law, permits the arbitrariness at the core of the
state of order to appear legitimate - especially when it´s
a question of deflecting threats made against traditional values.
today – with the availability of more extreme means of
power and more subtle control technologies – terror and
other threatening scenarios are again being alleged in order to
extend the reach of the authority of power.
simultaneously, all regulation mechanisms against the global
march of capital are being abandoned and the way left open for
unfettered greed to access all areas.
so it is then valid to question who is actually sovereign here,
as well as according to which instructions the government is in
fact acting, if losses in power and legitimation are being compensated
for through the surveillance and control of state citizens.
executive, legislative and judicial procedures are becoming increasingly
non- transparent. it´s only at this point that what has
been cited as a threat actually becomes perceptible to the citizenry,
in the form of state control. we feel ourselves once more subjugated
to opaque mechanisms, operated via the subjective interpretations
of state functionaries, outside of the control of democracy.
for a few specialised interests, this can definitely be called
for the artist, though, the question arising against this backdrop
is: in a climate of general social regression, of inexorable social
regulation and normalisation, of intensifying reduction of personal
freedom and increase in control, is it still possible to even
talk of artistic success at all?
or do the potential for social criticism, the chance for reflection
and the ambition for change (utopia, vision) that art at one time
possessed simply subside in the face of the market of pure speculation?
Put another way: what remains when the bubble bursts?
sd’s exhibition is to be read against this horizon. It
is an exhibition that, in the face of the general, perfect, continuous
practice of deceit, and the ever-present terror created around
profile and success, does not however pretend to deny its own