May 20 – August 13
CV was a major solo exhibition of Michael Riedel's work at the Kunsthalle Zürich.
The exhibition was based on the Curriculum Vitae or résumé as a highly stylized form of self-presentation. The idea of re-entry and repetition, particularly as it applies to artworks which compose an artist's career and that may be shown again and again, was central to the exhibition.
As Riedel explained in an interview with Mousse magazine: "Whenever I do a show, I get an automatic reply: a new note in my CV. This creates new text material for me to work with that will end up in the paintings or installations I'm making. This kind of irritation, this performative paradox, interests me."
Michael Riedel's practice focuses on creating new work from existing material in seemingly endless loops and permutations. His work includes text, audio, video, painting, photography, and performance. CV is accompanied by an artist book featuring a text by Riedel and views of the exhibition.
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 was 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 used 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 comprised 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 highlighted the binary nature of his forms, which in this case are made out of accepted and rejected gallery applications. As such, L formed 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
Since the late 1990s, Michael Riedel has focused on creating new work from existing material in seemingly endless loops and permutations. His practice includes new media, printed matter, and painting, encompassing print and analog information as well as the digital realm. A central focus of his work is the production and publishing of artist's books, catalogues, brochures, posters, and cards.
Michael Riedel: Poster—Painting—Presentation lays out for the first time the intricate process behind the work for which he is best known: paintings created systematically from posters generated with text he finds online.
Using websites that mention his work in some respect—ranging from reviews to exhibition pages—Riedel copies and pastes the HTML code, highlighting certain words as he goes along, into one of thirty-four poster templates which he then arranges in different colors and orientations to create the paintings. By using the code to make posters, Riedel creates a palette of words from which his paintings are generated. His process distances words from their traditional or literal meanings and presents them visually, almost as symbols. The meaning of the words is not altogether lost, but the emphasis is visual because language begins to take on painterly significance.
The publication features an essay by Tina Kukielski, curator and Executive Director of ART21. The book, like the essay, is divided into three sections—one dedicated to Riedel's posters, one to his Poster Paintings, and one to his more recent PowerPoint Paintings—and provides clarity around the artist's practice without eliminating the style and inherent complexity of his work.
Published by David Zwirner Books