Located in the AkademieGalerie of the Munich Kunstakademie, BILLBOARD establishes a dialectical relation between subjectivity and collective identity, presented through the lens of an expropriative process of one of the capital’s most bombastic forms: the billboard. Despite its enormous size, the billboard’s ubiquity in urban space is such that it is nearly invisible. It is generally kept at a distance as it is meant to be seen from far below. Our first step is to strip this form of its privileged point of view, hovering over the masses. The billboard at ground level, (actually UNDERground-level) can be worked on, and examined for what it is. Our billboard will be outsized even for the large room which it inhabits, it will need to be constructed at a diagonal in order for it to fit. We felt that this emphasis on the scale in relation to architecture was key to understanding the symbolic movement of the billboard from high above to the level of the street. The image on our billboard will be the result of a collective process of photoshop collage. An extremely large image file will be produced over the next weeks, with each of us spending time adding to and subtracting from the image in its entirety. For inspiration, we look to works of Bosch and Breugel, in whose fragmented pictorial narratives we can still find a picture of the perversity and decadence of our contemporary moment. But also to the decollage of Raymond Hains, who identified an abstraction in the manifestations of disagreements among the people through successive layers of torn and wheat-pasted political flyers on the walls of Paris in ’68. The medium of photoshop is as common to the artists of our generation as it is to the public who may or may not recognize its hand in every picture they see. We will deliberately misuse this tool, through splintering and accumulation, rather than refining and perfecting. Our billboard will be constructed with a scaffolding behind, and in this “dead space”, shot through with metal bars, we will stage a hidden celebration, in homage to all those dead spaces of cities all over the world. Spaces underneath the high school bleachers, underneath bridges, behind the letters of the Hollywood sign, public, yet hidden from common surveillance. We are aware of a brightly lit rotating advertising display that occupies the wall directly across from the space of the Akademiegalerie. We find this advertisement to be a somewhat grave imposition on the clarity of our message. In addition to meeting our goals for funding the work in the space of the Akademie Galerie, we also seek to rent this space from its owner for a short duration. Given this space, we will replace the images with black paper, and turn off the lights inside. This will allow our project to have freedom from the infinite regress of reflectivity which advertising generates, and which is anathema to art.
text by Justin Lieberman
exhibited at Akademie Galerie, Munich, Germany 2017