Exhibition by day and theater at night, iSLAND kEEPER stakes out new territory for artist Bernd Krauß. A collaboration between the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) and Goethe-Institut New York, the show will be presented as a part of PERFORMA 09. Slotted for November 1– 21, 2009, iSLAND kEEPER will be housed in the Goethe-Institut’s newly renovated Wyoming Building on Third Street, just off Bowery. An opening reception will take place on November 1 from 12 – 4 pm. The exhibition will be on view Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm, or 1 – 7pm on days with evening performances:
November 8, 2009, 7 pm: Premiere of American Soldier
November 11, 2009 – November 14, 2009, 7 pm: nightly performances of American Soldier
November 18, 2009 – November 21, 2009, 7 pm: nightly performances of American Soldier
The project will include objects and time-based work in several media clustered both spatially and temporally around a live interpretive staging of the film TheAmerican Soldier by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The piece aims to mimic Goethe’s model of education based on the dilettante’s exploration of masterworks via direct practice, using a minimum of means to enact a process that becomes more important than a piece fulfilled in all its possibilities. Presented by the collective “Theater Societaet,” of which Krauß is founding member, the performances will unfold within a circular metal railing inserted into the center of the largest part of the Wyoming space by ifau + Jesko Fezer, the architects of the building’s renovation. Krauß’s co-optation of the Goethe-Institut New York’s newsletter will allow him to publish both written content (in the English language) relating to the exhibition and a poster for American Soldier on the backside.
The diptych of photo-prints on canvas entitled Wachtmeisterin (Constabless) and Reichswald (Imperial Forest) present a classical female warrior and a kind of surreal mash-up of landscape and interior decoration, respectively. They will guard the entrance to an exhibition display that sets out to reclaim the existing architecture, formally reworking the white cube in order to remediate the visitor experience. iSLAND kEEPER plots out its parcel around the establishment of identity as a reaffirmation of locality. How small a domain can we claim for our own? On a beach, for example, the answer might be provided by the textile piece IKEA Payback, comprised of “reorganized and then re-sewed” towels. Additional sculptures and installations within this architecture will be accompanied by an installed video program curated by CCS Bard students: Mackenzie Schneider will serve as iSLAND kEEPER media director, and Laura Barlow will be curating a screening series. Both student-curators also collaborated with Krauß during his residency at CCS Bard in the autumn of 2008. Videos on view will include the works Sherwood Trail, documentation of a walk around a rural pond near the concrete ruins of Sherwood Mill, and Pease Ave., presentation of a self-defense system everybody might need at home.
Based in Nuernberg and Southport, Connecticut, Bernd Krauß often works with series of mutually related spatial situations and actions, involving almost all kinds of traditional artistic expression including paintings, sculptures, drawings, objects, videos, photographs, and performances. He is interested in the most varied levels and manifestations of creative activity that he refers to humorously in his “do-it-yourself” works. While Modernist art often acts as a backdrop to his own tinkering, his inspiration comes rather from the amateur and the dilettante. As an on-going project, for instance, he regularly shoots videos at various events of local character that he edits directly in the video camera. By adding his own commentary he refers to the kind of local television common in most parts of Europe.
In many cases Bernd Krauß lives near or inside the installations he is working on. As a “maker” he is constantly adding new playful elements to his overall environments, referencing and mocking the institution or organization by which he’s been invited. Over the years he has managed to maintain a lifestyle whereby he survives on a minimum of means by accepting all kinds of unusual residencies for artists. This way he continues his own production and reworks the host to become an integral part of his practice as well.
CCS Bard instituted an artist-in-residence program at the beginning of 2008. Bernd Krauß spent the autumn of that year in Annandale-on-Hudson as the second artist to participate in the series.