Kunst muss Hängen, 2001
Video, color, sound, 32 min 55 sec (loop)
Performer: Andrea Fraser
Produced by: Andrea Fraser and Gallery Nagel, Köln, 2001,
"An Abstract Representation II", 2001
Painting, oil and graphite on primed canvas
65.6 x 70.3 cm
Projection area approx. 224 x 335 cm
Edition 3/6, 2 A. P.
Kunst muss hängen (Art Must Hang) was first performed and presented as an exhibition at the Gallery Christian Nagel in Cologne in 2001. The performance, represented in video as a life-sized projection over one of eight paintings produced for the exhibition, reconstructs an im-promptu dinner speech given by the late Martin Kippenberger. The speech was originally deliv-ered at the opening of an exhibition of works by Michael Würthle, the owner of the Paris Bar in Berlin and a close friend of Kippenberger, at the Club an der Grenze in Austria in 1995. The speech memorized verbatim in German from a videotape documenting Würthle's opening, a process that took more than six weeks.
In many ways, Kippenberger's speech can be seen as exemplary of the ambivalence that per-vaded his own performance of his artist role. Each statement in support of the exhibiting artist is turned into ridicule, each self-representation is made pathetic, each sincere gesture is sub-verted by jokes at the expense of his friend, his audience and himself. In the reperformance of the speech this ambivalence is doubled. Kippenberger's spontaneous, colloquial, drunken Ger-man is reproduced by someone who doesn't actually understand the language. The alienating effect of displacement is further complicated by gender difference and the juxtaposition of two very different artistic positions. This doubling is displaced yet again as the performer takes up, not only Kippenberger's position as the speaker, but also the position of his friend, the object of his ambivalent speech, by presenting her own paintings, the first she3 has made since 1984.While clearly inspired by minimalism, the paintings also include 'Kippenbergergian" ele-ments - such as their potentially embarrassing lack of accomplishment.
The title "Art Must Hang" is drawn from the artist 's personal contact with Kippenberger. In her first exhibition at the Nagel gallery, the artist included six aluminum disks of "smileys" (and "Frowny")faces, originally produced for Amuse(m). Kippenberger bought these "smileys" and installed them with other works from his collection at the Paris Bar in Berlin. But the aluminum disks kept falling off the wall. The next time Kippenberger met the young conceptualist artist, he admonished her: "Art must hang." (Andrea Fraser)