Saturday, January 16, 1pm: Talk by Astrid Wege, exhibition curator
“CAMPAIGN is not primarily about the 1972 American presidential election, rather it focuses on the medium of television in this political context.” (KRIWET)
As in 1969, when the artist went to New York at the time of the moon launch, he also traveled to the US in 1972 to observe the mass media packaging of the election campaign between McGovern and Nixon in radio, television, and newspapers. He gathered material, which he assembled into an audio text and a film.
KRIWET’s approach to acoustic and visual material is seminal. While his early texts from the late 1950s are best understood in the context of concrete poetry which used the visual and phonetic dimension of language as concrete material, from the 1960s onward KRIWET broadened his artistic spectrum by employing language and visual signs encountered in mass media and advertising. In his ‘Hörtexte’ (audio texts) – for example Voice of America Manifestation I (1970) or Ball (1974) – produced, among others, in cooperation with the German Radio station WDR, KRIWET sampled preexisting radio material, jingles, and broadcast sounds and ordered the found material according to topical and formal aspects – a practice he thematically and aesthetically expanded in his complex image-sound-collages Apollovision (1969/2005) and Campaign (1972–73/2005). His intention was to reflect on both medial structures and the act of seeing or hearing itself.
KRIWET’s exhibition at Ludlow 38 will be showing a selection of his work in diverse media, which was also influenced by aesthetic and conceptual currents in New Music, the Beat generation, and Pop art.
One focus of the exhibition are three works conceived in the US, i.e. Campaign Tableau (1972/2007), a photographic work of 21 pieces so far shown only once in public, the audio text Campaign (1973), and the image-sound collage Apollovision – works which in their investigation of the construction of media space are still politically resonant. KRIWET’s associations with Pop art are particularly evident in the Text Signs (1968), which seem to grasp the directness of advertising. The lettering with its manifold references to politics, sexuality, history etc. is not aiming at an easy intelligibility. The overlapping and truncated characters rather punctuate linear processes of understanding and open a field of signification, which cannot be read only in one direction. A selection of books and discs gives insight into KRIWET’s publishing activities.
KRIWET was born in 1942 in Düsseldorf and lives in Dresden. Solo exhibitions include BQ, Köln, 2008; 2004; Galerie Schoeller, Düsseldorf, 1977; Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 1975; Clemens-Sels-Museum, Neuss, 1973; Rotterdamse Kunststichting, Rotterdam, 1970; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Köln, 1969. The presentation at Ludlow 38 is KRIWET’s first solo exhibition in New York.