Since the late 1990s, German artist Michael Riedel (b. 1972) has advanced his own model of a self-sustaining artistic production, continuously using reproductions as a means to "reintroduce the art system into the system of art which occurs in the art world." He recycles his own material and copies from other artists, highlighting any degradation of information that happens in the process as integral aesthetic by-products. While his practice shares a stylistic affinity with Pop and appropriation art, it represents a departure from the issues of mechanical reproduction that preoccupied earlier generations. Rather, his work embraces the idea of transfer, which is unique to the digital age.
For Art Cologne, Riedel has been invited to create a site-specific work as part of a new initiative through which artists are asked to intervene with the architecture of the fair. Riedel will use the large entrance hall to stage an installation that takes its point of departure in a meeting in which the fair's committee members determined the galleries that were accepted or rejected from participating in this year's edition. Riedel got permission to record their three-hour conversation, which was subsequently transcribed. With the use of a computer program, the artist created a graphic pattern from the text, isolating the letter L—"a neutral letter and not loaded with any meaning…By emphasizing and enlarging this letter [which appeared 1,894 times out of a total of 53,689 characters], an automatism gets under way, which defines both the composition of the entire text and the L-shape of the spatial installation."
Entitled L, the work comprises wallpaper with the graphic pattern that also extends onto the floor and unfolds into an L-shaped booth. By presenting new paintings that feature the context that led to this year's fair, Riedel highlights the binary nature of his forms, which in this case are made out of accepted and rejected gallery applications. As such, L forms part of a series of art fair interventions by the artist that include David Zwirner's booth at Open Space 2006, an alternative venue then operated alongside ART COLOGNE. There, the artist photographed the neighboring booth and mounted the photograph as wallpaper, thus creating an illusion of physical space. Wallpaper depicting a booth at Art Cologne in 1992 was installed for his participation at Art Statements at Art Basel in 2006, and at the 2012 Armory Show in New York, Riedel created a site-specific installation including his poster paintings and tinted wallpaper, with the latter featuring a to-scale photograph of the booth that appeared to double its size.
Read more: Michael Riedel Made an Artwork Out of Art Cologne's Selection Process
Artnet, artist interview by Perwana Nazif
Above: Michael Riedel photographed in 2013 by Jason Schmidt at David Zwirner in New York