"Bridge/The Map Is Not the Territory." (Modern Sculpture, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fleetinsel, Hamburg, Germany)
Jahn, Wolf, Artforum International
It is difficult to talk about "territory" today: as a concept, it serves as a negative criterion, or a background against which urban life and social development can be displayed. The recent exhibition "Bridge/The Map Is Not the Territory" was an attempt to renavigate this nonterritory. The curators, Ute Meta Bauer and Cathy Skene, with the sponsorship of several gallery owners (Galerie Jurgen Becker, Elke Droscher, Galerie Dorrie Priess, Helga Maria Klosterfelde, and Produzentengalerie) and two art publishers (Sautter + Lackmann and Joachim Luhrs Kunstantiquariat), developed a multileveled project that took a number of approaches. First, for this virtual territory a real one was chosen: a private square that arose in the course of recent redevelopment in Hamburg. Adjacent to the historical building that is inhabited by the show's sponsors and a number of artists - and which is also bordered on one side by a hotel and on the other by a half-empty office complex - is a square that suggests an urban vacuum. This open space served as a blank page for the participating artists.
The title of the project mirrored its division into two parts. "Bridge" referred to aesthetic positions that have influenced the discourse of urbanism over the last twenty-five years. This half of the show included a video program featuring works by Dan Graham and Gordon Matta-Clark. In a more recent video piece by Till Krause, Hamburg's escape routes and underground garages (rather than its public thoroughfares) serve as scenes for the urban stroll.
"Bridge" also suggested a connection to the 1989 exhibition "Hamburg Project," for which over forty artists were invited to realize works dealing with everyday reality in the city. General Idea's AIDS sculpture based on Robert Indiana's LOVE logo was shown in both exhibitions, as were other pieces from the earlier show. Over the years a mantel of graffiti - evidence of public controversy - has covered the AIDS sculpture. Two commissioned works also tied "Bridge" to the present. One was a video by Fareed Armaly that documented the project through interviews with the show's participants. The other was a map that functioned as a reader, offering a topography of the current discourse of urbanism. …