at Krome Gallery, Berlin, 2013/2014
Andrea Pichl, “delirious Dinge„
Of all places, it is Alexanderplatz—the so-called heart of Berlin—that was chosen by Andrea Pichl as a model for the framework of her installation at Krome Gallery. Its strict, emblematic layout leads to the artistic grid in which the exhibition elements have to integrate themselves. As always for Pichl, the presented artwork started out as photographs. Some of them stayed in that mode, while others were filtered through collage and reintroduced to the room as sculptures.Therefore, the artist’s attention was not based on the aesthetically outstanding but on the banal, which can be found everywhere. The artist focuses with precision on details—abstract modules, strange flower boxes, unconventionally placed bollards, and forgotten street furniture in public spaces that have lost their original function. With a certain distance, but without the coldness of a scientific diagnosis, urban phenomena are scanned for their sculptural qualities. Pichl analyses the spaces and forms installed by a society focused on the consumption of things, and she explores the possibility of arts to act in a critical way without lapsing into ideology. In Pichl’s work, the vocabulary of public spaces and the inventory of hardware stores turn out to be free-floating formations of codes that can be laid on the world without historical context or legibility. Our categories, it seems, are denying the source they arise from. Now the question is: How are we to read Pichl’s sculptures, collages, and installations when every public ornamental phenomenon is composed out of the same form, when every front yard could be a quotation of an English landscape garden or severe French garden architecture, or when allotment gardens already have been transferred from their function as a subsidiary base to parodies of park grounds? Does the kitsch attitude—in terms of both objective appearances and subjective aspects—simply belong to our contemporary world? Or are these signs from far away that are waving back at us, such as Thomas More’s “insula Utopia”—a radiocentric site plan in the shape of a half moon, or the perfect and complex geometries of Dürer’s chess boards or Filarete’s star-shaped ideal cities? Is there a remainder of utopian potential in every simple-minded hardware-store element? Are we dealing with archaeological leftovers from the period of heroic architecture—when Le Corbusier had plans for a metropolis built out of prefabricated standardized components, and when Mies van der Rohe published his first lines about industrial constructing in the avant-garde journal G?