Wermke Leinkauf

Texts (German/English) by Xander Karskens and Bettina Klein
136 p with 82 coloured images
300 x 220 mm, hardcover

ISBN 978-3-86442-056-6

29,80 €

A journey of discovery

It is considered quite normal in ­recent art history for two artists to join forces – many famous examples in the last thirty-five years are proof enough of this. But there is something special when two very differ­ent characters come together, espe­- c­ially when such a collabor­ation would seem scarcely probable due to the fact that they studied in different places and do not necessarily share the same fields of inter­est. But there is something that connects Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf, which has contra­dicted a prototypical career of this kind throughout their lives – the two have been friends from a shared adolescence in the East Berlin street art and grafitti scene. And this is where we plunge into a wild and spectacular background which characterises so inimitably the work of this artist duo. Take the following film by the two young artists: a man is hanging by his outstretched arms from some ledge or other – a bridge, a crane or what­ever. And just as you are about to place a bet as to how long he can hold on, he pulls himself up again – or maybe he simply allows himself to fall? In the installation »Deci­sions«, you witness this situa­tion repeatedly from different perspec­tives on ten monitors and then over again in other places. Thus, the viewer at least has an opportunity to get used to this ­unusual event. And because habitu­ation usually happens very quickly, it creates a completely non-specific interest in activities, for example, that are repeatedly disturbed in an unplanned way, in prohibitions that become common­place, or in observ­ing activities that seem impossible. And so suddenly new opportu­n­ities emerge which normally would only be the preserve of a »topsy-turvy world«. According to ­Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf in an outline of the project, it is all about a ­journey of discovery and the unconventional use of public space, in which the familiar becomes unfamiliar, unknown. The viewer is supposed to become aware, simply and quite spontaneously of – in a literal sense –  free, open spaces that the two art­ists have conquered most artistically and subversively. This book is the first solo publi­cation on this artist-duo and ­compiles an overview of all previous actions jointly per­formed by the pair. In 2012, the duo received the Columbus art foundation prize for contemporary art.

Kunstverein Heilbronn, 20/7–15/9/2013