In the Remise at the Kunstverein Braunschweig, the Danish artist Christian Falsnaes has created an installation in which – as is typical for the artist – he ensnares the visitor in various intricate performances.
Falsnaes makes use of mechanisms of participation and mass-propaganda. A skilled master of motivational speaking, he commandeers the audience to carry out his performances. Although he employs such traditional methods of image production as drawing, painting, and video, his works always retain a decidedly performative cast, whether it is the primed canvas that first becomes a picture after its purchase through being painted by the collector him- or herself – following the artist’s instructions – or the drawing that must be destroyed once the sales contract has been signed, in order to be replaced by a duplicate already drawn by the buyer. Visitors to his exhibitions might appear as dancing extras in a music video, spray the gallery walls with color, or break through walls with power saws. Furthermore, the works created as result of these effective methods of participation often negotiate, actionistically and in passing, central questions about painting and sculpture and the production and destruction of images.
For his exhibition in Braunschweig, Falsnaes has placed a telephone in the exhibition space, making himself available to give the inciting instructions for actions to be performed within his installation. Thus, by inviting the audience reach out to him, the artist directly involves them in the production of something which can only take shape as such as a result of the multifarious possibilities of such a potentially participative situation. Unlike Yoko Ono’s Instruction Pieces, however, whose performances outline and generate fictive poetic images on the basis of her descriptive approach, Falsnaes counts on the actual fulfillment of his invitations to participate, which range from sober to distressing and aggressive. These play on the idea of the strong, authoritarian presence of the physically absent artist.
Christian Falsnaes (born 1980 in Copenhagen, lives in Berlin) initially studied philosophy and came to art through the graffiti scene. At the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna he studied with Peter Kogler and Daniel Richter. Since 2003 Falsnaes has realized performances and exhibitions worldwide, and in 2008 he received the Austrian performance prize H13. In 2015 he was nominated for the Preis der Nationalgalerie, and will participate in a major exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.
Curated by: Gergana Todorova