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Ulf Aminde, life is not a listener’s request program

Andre Schlechtriem
600 Washington Street, 212-929-6119
Greenwich Village
September 19 - November 9, 2008
Web Site

André Schlechtriem Contemporary is pleased to present Ulf Aminde in his first solo show in the United States entitled life is not a listener’s request program, featuring three recent works by the artist.

Aminde’s most recent piece, zusammenrotten (rout) 2008, was realized in collaboration with patients of an institution for drug addicts in Berlin. The piece, shot in Super-8, takes place in the institution’s basement. Aminde creates scenarios that resemble Tableau Vivants and family therapy methods. The non-actors/patients reenact possible situations drawn from their experiences as drug addicts; Aminde’s camera floats through these living images. The film does not offer a remedy for the trauma. Aminde, rather, questions if the remedy for our own life’s tragedy may be its permanent renewal on stage.

In weiter (keep going) 2004, Aminde prompts a group of punks in Berlin to play a game of musical chairs. Amongst the ruins of a building and stray dogs, an anarchistic interpretation of the well-known childhood game ensues. Though the rules were known, the have little to no validity to the societally marginalized participants. By the end of the game, despite the declaration of a winner, every possible rule of the game has been, not purposefully broken, but completely ignored.

Das Leben ist kein Wunschkonzert (life is not a listener’s request program) 2004—2006 is a video instillation featuring 24 street musicians on 12 monitors. Each musician is asked by Aminde to play a single monotone note of their choosing. The length of each performance ranges anywhere from 20 seconds to 30 minutes of music. Each musician is shown on their own monitor, 12 musicians at a time. The resulting image and sound is an orchestra of disharmony.

Aminde’s protagonists reveal their life stories through his mise-en-scene, thus he avoids all documentary tropes. The works are moving records of his exploration and investigation of people who are marginalized by society. In all the three works Aminde plays with the relationship between him as the artist, the protagonist(s), and us – the viewer. This triangle is the hidden concentration of his work. In life is not a listener’s request program the fixed camera gives the viewer a sense of safe observation. However, the constant and monumental sound of the musicians proves itself to be too powerful, ultimately overcoming this safety and affecting the viewer. In weiter the camera is also fixed, creating distance between the viewer and protagonists. As the artist shouts to those playing the game, the viewer is brought into the relationship between him and the participants. Through camera movements and proximity to the protagonist, zuzsammenrotten goes one important step further, and radically changes. As the camera takes on the main character’s point of view, we are able to connect with those we see before us, and ultimately learn to see through their eyes.

Ulf Aminde has had institutional solo shows at Kunstverein Wolfsburg, GAK in Bremen, and UKS Gallery in Oslo, Norway. Group exhibitions include the 4th Berlin Biennial, Kunstmuseum in Bonn, ZKM Karlsruhe, and Pori Art Museum in Finland. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcal-7997 to see them here.