07 July - 08 September 2012
Pomme de Terre
7 July - 8 September 2012
Stefan Bohnenberger's so-called Pommeskreuze (crosses of French fries) and his piece Pommes d'Or have made history, the history of art and legal history. We are thus very happy to open our show Pomme de Terre on July 6. In this show, Stefan Bohnenberger is not only showing the cross of French fries cast in gold for which (and its possession) he has fought many years against his former gallery, but also an edition that consists of the records of the case before the district court as well as of the reconstruction of an original cross of French fries (made of two dried French fries) and a certificate.
A research in Google with the words "Bohnenberger" and "Pommes" (German for French fries) results in appr. 23.000 hits. These are mainly press reports from the trial before the district court of Munich. In these reports the question whether a cross created of two dried French fries is art or not – a question that has not been ventilated by the district court – is not a topic that is discussed directly. The art-character of the fries is rather subtly doubted by the manner of reporting – ironic phrasing, accentuation (in the case of audio or visual reports). Much clearer are the commentaries (post a comment…) that deny almost unanimously that the two French fries are art. The commentators are not even afraid to take the common sense (German: gesunder Menschenverstand) and other wording that we know from the time of National Socialism and its ideas of appropriate or degenerate art – the disposition to take one's own narrowmindedness as a supposedly absolute standard for the definition of what art is has been preserved in perfect continuity of the notorious history of our country. However: this way of reacting to Bohnenberger's work in the clandestine internet, where no responsibility has to be assumed and where people with lots of time burst out in avalanches of letters to the editor, is not really surprising.
Exciting, on the contrary, is that Bohnenberger goes one step farther in our exhibition: Not only the more or less loaded Ready Made – as a cross made of French fries (with its references to our Christian history and to the fatty degeneration of our society) – and the drawings and original crosses of French fries are the artwork(s); but what becomes art is the legal discourse (in the case that takes place before a court) of the old questions – what is art and what obligations and claims can an artist have. The operating system "art" (Betriebssystem Kunst) embraces the judicial power in the state. The frame, that is: the spatial and substantial context in which the objects are shown, is once again decisive: what was just the reproduction of the records of a case just a minute ago, becomes – hanging on the wall as an installation and also presented in an edition consisting of a box created particularly for the cross of French fries in a sheet metal box and the Xeroxed records of the case – art.
Stefan Bohnenberger was born in 1959 in Munich; he lives and works in Brussels.