Opening on November 22, 2005, David Zwirner is pleased to present Neo, the first New York exhibition by Berlin-based artist Michael S. Riedel. The artist, who recently moved to Berlin from Frankfurt, has had exhibitions at the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria in 2003, and at the Moscow Biennale at the Lenin Museum, Moscow, Russia in 2005. He is perhaps best known for shows staged at Oskar-von-Miller Strasse 16 in Frankfurt with collaborator Dennis Loesch. These simulations of concurrent exhibitions by artists in nearby galleries have gained international acclaim.
Riedel's conceptual simulacra operate on numerous levels–as reinterpretations of existing works of art, restagings of events, and facsimiles of architectural structures. For the Moscow Biennale earlier this year, he revisited Joseph Kosuth's One and Three Chairs, 1965, enhancing the contemplative aspect of the original work by using the chairs as props in a performance. In 2004, Riedel duplicated the interior of Robert-Johnson, a nightclub in Frankfurt, but installed everything upside down with a soundtrack of dance music played backwards. Entitled NOSNHO…, the work was the backdrop for "clubnights" at the gallery. Also in 2004, at the Frieze Art Fair in London, Riedel created a counterfeit fair catalog. Through distribution of the book to unsuspecting attendees, he circumvented more emerging-artist-appropriate satellite venues and placed his work, in its purest form–diffused replica–at the main fair. In many of his projects, written transcripts and printed paraphernalia accompany the physical objects on display, and in his "anecdotal conferences," as Riedel refers to them, participants are invited into his process. Their statements about the work often become the subject of forthcoming exhibitions, reinforcing Riedel's interest in the reactionary discourse surrounding existing and future works of art.
Atypical of the usual postmodern agenda, Riedel is fully engaged in an active dialog not only with art history but with the viewer, pushing his installations to transcend mere replication and reversal. As Daniel Birnbaum states in Artforum (October 2005), 'Riedel's art is just as much about social context and the technological dispersals of our information-based culture as it is about any sort of appropriation… [Riedel] is more directly engaged in a dialogue with Situationism, mimicking the disseminating structures of information in mass culture (not to mention in the art world more locally) and thereby detouring them for audiences–and grabbing hold of the subtle sense of dissociation that attends our media-saturated contemporary experience in the process.' Birnbaum aptly describes Riedel's works as "simultaneous translations," referring to the artist's uncanny knack for timing and what Riedel himself calls "speculative exhibitions of a future taking place in reality."
The current installation consists of 4 wall pieces, each including smaller wooden panels that combine to form deconstructed images, thereby recontextualizing a past visual experience while upturning the viewer's expectations. In this exhibition, as in many of his past works, it is Riedel's reevaluation of visual material without fear of evident process that is most seductive–his work is simultaneously riveting yet invisible, factual yet speculative. As Birnbaum notes, 'We can undoubtedly expect similar clairvoyant flashes from Riedel in forthcoming projects. Perhaps we'll recognize them when they (finally) happen (again).'