The Unhappened Dialogue
CATALOGUE NUMBER: 65
Using the installation No 33, Three Russian Paintings
Three Russian Paintings, Collection John L. Stewart, New York
See No 33
Not preserved as installation in this form
Vienna, Akademie der Bildenden Künste
Über Malerei – Begegnung mit der Geschichte, 19 Nov 1992 — 31 Dec 1992
The installation The Life of Flies was built in the Kunstverein in Cologne in January 1992. The long space of the Kunstverein is divided into 4 halls which form a suite.
CONCEPT AND DESCRIPTION OF THE INSTALLATION
In 1992, the Art Academy in Vienna celebrated its 250th anniversary, and a few artists were asked to select a few paintings of the classical masters that were hanging in the museum of the Academy and to think up their own ‘masterpieces’ that would go well with these works. I selected two landscapes by Ruisdael (my favorite artist) and one landscape by Hobbema and hung them on the wall left of the entrance in a specially constructed dwelling which in appearance imitated a museum space: dark green walls, wooden panels along the walls. But everything looked genuinely fake: the panels, the parquet floor made of plastic, the poorly painted walls; and to complete the look, the ceiling was made of a dark fabric stretched across the space. Opposite the paintings of Ruisdael and Hobbema, I hung my own Three Russian Paintings with commentaries. According to my thinking, these were to comprise a ‘dialogue’: there were landscapes on both walls, of Holland on one wall, of Russia on the other (of course, in a ‘conceptual’ rendering, so to speak). Both groups were behind barriers. Near the ‘Russian’ side stood a table with a text to make it possible to figure out the ‘conceptual’ meaning … But all of this was slightly out of place because of the barrier and the table with chairs. The way the paintings were hung was also a bit abnormal: all of this, of course, ensured that these four virtually empty brown boards could not lead to anything good in terms of ‘a meeting with a classic’ in ‘such a place’ and in such an arrangement. A dialogue simply could not take place.