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HAPPENINGText: Kana Sunayama

I also had a chance to see the work by Iza Genzken, whose work had already been familiar at this exhibition as she also participated in 1987 and 1997. Her work was also exhibited in this year’s Venice Biennale representing the German Pavilion, along with Sophie Calle at the French Pavilion and Tracey Emin at the British Pavilion, and this was at the central attention of the media as all of these 3 European countries were represented by female artists.

Isa Genzken, Without Title

This was an installation work of about 10 figures under parasols in a space next to a Church. It had a sort of sad quality where the figures had grotesque colorings and forms catching the almost-violent sunlight, but at the same time it felt as though they were trying to invade us.

Isa Genzken, Without Title (Detail)

I will now introduce another 2, laughter inducing works from the Sculpture Projects Muenster 07.

The first one was a piece entitled “I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it” by Israeli artist, based in Berlin, Guy Ben-Ner who represented the Israeli Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Guy Ben-Ner., I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it

As I walked in the exhibition room, 3 bicycles had been installed. The audience was required to ride and pedal on a bicycle to view the video work, which would make some of them feel reluctant to try out a little, as most of the audience would already be tired because the location of this exhibition was quite a distance from the centre of the town and the options to get to this place was either to walk or bicycle. Anyway, I decided to ride on one of the bicycles. There was a video monitor installed just above the handles, and it started to play as soon as I started pedaling.

Guy Ben-Ner., Treehouse Kit

In “Treehouse Kit”, his video work exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2005, Ben-Ner turned into a modern version of Robinson Crusoe and eventually finished making a table, a chair and a bed with the wood pieces dismantled from IKEA furniture. This had a very humorous idea, but this time at the Muenster project, the work was not made from IKEA furniture. The idea was to use “Bull’s Head” by Picasso, “Bicycle Wheel on a Stool” by Duchamp and “Zerstorte Batterie” by Beuys, which happened to have been exhibited in one of the rooms at the Muenster Modern Art Museum, and which Ben-Ner was going to sneak into the Muenster Museum with children and take from there while the security guard had fallen asleep.

Guy Ben-Ner., Treehouse Kit

The final outcome turned out to be one of the famous symbols of Muenster; a bicycle. Muenster is a town famous for encouraging the residents to use bicycles and also for keeping pleasant sidewalks and safe roads for cyclists. Ben-Ner and the children went on a round tour of the Sculpture Project in Muenster on this bicycle made from the art pieces borrowed from the Museum. This was just like what the audience would do to get to this country town in Germany and to get around in town to see the sculptures.

The video installation was played by the power generated by the movement of the wheels that the audiences pedaled, which means they had the control to play the video slowly by cycling the wheels slowly or if they found the scene too boring they could also fast forward with their own control. If they missed a scene and wanted to play it again, they could rewind the video by pedaling backwards. The audience usually wouldn’t realize that they’d already been working out quite a lot by this point, as they would have been drawn into the video. After I got off the bike and left the room, I saw others pedaling away on the bicycles from the windows, the exhibition room looked like it was one of those gyms for work-outs.

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