SHOW US BUY US SELL US The twenty-five drawings show the following institutions and galleries in the Canton of Bern: Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Bern / Cultural Department of the Canton of Bern / Swiss Federal Department for Culture, Bern / ETAGEN, staircase display of the Loeb department store, Bern /
Gallery DuflonRacz, Bern / Gallery Annex 14, Bern / Gallery Beatrice Brunner, Bern / Gallery Bernhard Bischoff & Partner, Bern / Gallery Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach / Gallery Krethlow, Bern / Gallery Margit Haldemann, Bern / Gallery Martin Krebs, Bern / Gallery Rigassi, Bern / Kunsthalle Bern / Kunsthaus Langenthal / Kunstkeller Bern / Kunstmuseum Bern / Kunstmuseum Thun / Kunstraum Oktogon, Bern / Art collection of the Mobiliar insurance company, Bern / Museum of Communication, Bern / MusĂŠe jurassien des Arts, Moutier / Selz art contemporain, Perrefitte / videokunst.ch, Bern / Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern Show us Buy us Sell us was supported by the Department of Culture of the Canton of Bern, the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Bern
Galerie DuflonRacz/ArtContemporain Henry Racz Michel Schmid, Courgenay Working Tiger Jerry Haenggli Till Wyler von Ballmoos Zac, Marc Bigler, Bern PrĂ¤geatelier RUF AG, Bern ARGRAF, Warsaw Canton Bern City of Bern City of Biel
and the Cultural Office of the City of Biel/Bienne.
Host Wood sculpture Installation Frames Etchings Print Supported by
Show us Buy us Sell us 2009 Two-part installation, consisting of:
PUTSCH Installation in eight parts, fir (execution: Michel Schmid, Courgenay, JU), wire, screws, turnbuckles
Show us Buy us Sell us –… 25 pen drawings, A3 format, embossed, framed
Publication 60 unbound pages, 29 cm x 40 cm, 28 images, text by Trmasan Brualesi Design: pol, Bern; print: ARGRAF, Warsaw PL, edition of 500, ISBN: 978-3-033-02314-7 When Haus am Gern agreed to their first exhibit in a commercial gallery – unwillingly at first, later perplexed and finally with a sense of fun – they enticed the chain-sawing world champion, Michel Schmid from Courgenay, and the gallery to get involved in a work that is simultaneously subtle and crude. The exhibition consisting of twentyfive drawings and an installation that transcends and transgresses space demonstrates how art is performed and why.
Dear Paul, Recently I visited distant relatives in Warsaw, an aging and infirm couple living in one of the high-rise housing districts on the continuously expanding edge of town. I rode the metro comfortably and quickly from the town centre out to the development zone, and as soon as I was back over-ground I was lost in those uniform streets and sweeping squares. Having plenty of time, I let myself drift until a house drew my attention to the grey sameness of the construction in the area.
The two-storey brick building with a gabled roof seemed to be well preserved, but it was hard to tell which period it might date from – surely from a time when this place was still a village, and the city far away. What made it special however, was the bricked up windows and doors. Someone had taken special care closing up all openings with grey blocks of aerated concrete, using a light colored mortar that created a charming contrast with the red brick wall. My first thought was that I had encountered an art object. But that wasn’t the case. Cer-
tainly the give-away clue customary with such projects was not to be found anywhere. As I walked around this house, which I had now begun to read as an ob ject, I recalled a conversation with a collector couple from Zurich, who told me over dinner one evening how they had travelled to Bern to see an exhibition at a friend’s gallery in the old town. As they arrived, they found the windows of the gallery nailed shut with large planks of wood. A little stunned, they took an espresso at the café on the other side of the street and returned home emptyhanded. A phone call to the gallerist later cast some light on the confusion: the planks, explained the gallerist, were a part of the exhibition. And the gallery was not empty, not at all, but this was somewhat hard to convey over the phone; it needed to be seen, for everything was precisely arranged and made sense in connection with the threatening letters to the cultural institutions of Bern that were also on display there. Threatening letters? I decided to stop off in Bern on my journey from Zurich to Geneva the following day and take a look at this exhibition. Well, you know Bern, so I don’t need to explain the situation to you. Walking on the left side of the street through the covered arcades down towards the bear pit, it is impossible to miss the boarded up gallery – ‘nailed shut’ is not quite the right ex pression here, for the mighty planks are neither nailed nor screwed together. They are held in place by forces invisible from the outside. In addition, the planks are not mere planks. Looking and touching
for a closer inspection, it becomes obvious that the boards mounted on top of each other and crisscrossing the windows are each cut from a single massive piece of wood; the upper and lower planks come from one and the same trunk. I sat on a bench opposite and watched the passers-by as they reacted to this rather imposing interference in the comfortable trot of Bern’s old town. Most stopped for a moment, peered between the planks, fingered the wood, and once they recognised the ‘trick’, passed on with a respectful nod (although it wasn’t quite clear to me whether they were pleased with their own cleverness or that of the artist). The tourists, as a rule, took photographs. Only the very few, however, dared to walk in through the open door. Entering the darkened first room of the gallery, where the planks fastened to the opened windows stood out sharply against the daylight, I almost caught my head on one of the many wires that stretched from the back wall across the otherwise empty room to the planks, and held them to the window frames through sheer traction. In a second, lighter room, the threatening letters mentioned above were exhibited, 25 in number, and carefully framed. The small, rotund, highly exacting pigment drawings, show art institutions in Bern, from the Kunsthalle to the gallery scene, to the Zentrum Paul Klee, in a state after or during a violent act of destruction through water, fire, tornados, avalanches, earthquakes, bombs, traffic accidents and whatever similar events imaginable. A feast for the eyes, ever more satisfying
– were it not for the imprinted writing be low each drawing:
ASSHOLE! ARTSUCKER! ARTISTFUCKER!!! WARNING!! THIS IS NOT A DRAWING!! THIS IS A PREVIEW AND WILL BECOME REAL IF YOU DON’T SHOW US BUY US SELL US
Here for once the traditional question – what does the artist mean to say? – is in fact out of the question. The message after all is crystal clear: show us, buy us, sell us – otherwise what is anticipated in the image will actually happen! Here Rudolf Steiner and Barbara Meyer Cesta (aka Haus am Gern) kill two birds with one stone: firstly, they refer to the magical character of drawing, which already summoned the beasts millennia ago in the caves of Altamira, and simultaneously, they refer back to themselves as artists who practice this magic. In a third move, they also show who performs art, and why. These were the things on my mind as I walked around that strange house-object in a cold suburb of Warsaw, looking for an explanation. I found none.
Hope to see you again soon! Trmasan Bruialesi
MONO is a folder gathering 20 single small books. It's in fact the first Monograph about the work of «Haus am Gern» 1998 - 2010 with lots of...