With Ralf Brög, the classical artifact is merely one part of his artistic strategy, though its sensually tangible presence is certainly of major importance. Regardless of the work's autonomous significance as an artistic object, it is mostly based on a conceptual approach; to him first its engagement with quite experimental lines of the work's publication, distribution and showcasing completes its aesthetic production. XF-Format-as a logical continuation of what Ralf Brög had already given shape to in another format for SITEmagazine-thematizes the display mechanisms, the artworks and the exhibition itself to which KUTTNER SIEBERT Galerie invited him and the artists Tolia Astali/Dylan Peirce, as well as Eric Bainbridge.
The fundamental element of the exhibition is the panel designed by him in an x-form. Several structure and construct the room, and in their number they even affect movement and question our visual habits by obstructing our lines of vision and forcing us to take up new viewing positions. In their sequel, the spatial array of the artworks structures the temporal reception pattern similar to that of leafing through a magazine. The change between the formats, the leap between two- and three-dimensionality is characteristic for the nature of a hybrid, as Ralf Brög terms the XF-Format.
Not least of all, this questioning via deviations is directed at the viewing of artworks per se, insofar as their autonomous status is still recognized as such outside of a closed system like the ideal presentation room in a concretely architectural space.
All the other artists and their works in the exhibition also study the correlations between work and viewer, art and its framework of reception. With Eric Bainbridge, this approach is extended to include the question of what is generally picture-worthy. His works, inspired by many journeys and regular visits to the washrooms of motorway service areas, show the received taste of tile walls with their traces of use, visible damage and the drilled holes left by past fittings. Eric Bainbridge does not set the scene, so that his pictures are lent a casualness that reproduces the mostly superficial perception of the real world, far removed from any aestheticization of everyday life.
The surface of Astali/Peirce's pictures evenly cover set grid points. Any search for hidden structures and context-related themes in the picture is compounded by the enlargement of the collaged fragments. Instead, the remaining indications of materiality are woven-together with the process-induced and only cursorily visible blemishes in the picture, the grains of dust and the fissured edges-to an almost haptic texture.
In this combination of different works, Ralf Brög rounds up the exhibition with central aspects of the intimate and the reflective gaze. His works are basically of a graphic plainness that is shown in their monochrome or mirroring surface as well as in the picture-innate relationship between detailed structure and flat-plane totality.
Tolia Astali (*1974 in Tiflis) and Dylan Peirce (*1977 in Paris) live and work in Berlin. Tolia Astali studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tiflis, the Academy of the Visual Arts in Mainz and the Chelsea College of Art & Design at the University of the Arts London. Dylan Peirce studied in Liverpool and at the Chelsea College of Art & Design at the University of the Arts London. Since 2001 they have shown their collaborative works, recently at the Märkisches Museum Witten (Group Velocity, 2011) and in solo exhibitions at Petra Rinck, Düsseldorf (Insular, 2012), Autocenter Berlin (Seams, 2012) and MAP Düsseldorf (Interiors, 2012).
Eric Bainbridge (*1955, Consett, County Durham, UK) studied in Newcastle and at the Royal College Of Art, London. He is professor of art at Sunderland University. He has had solo exhibits at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (Style, Space, Elegance, 1989), at the Royal Festival Hall, London (Eric Bainbridge Sculptures, 1995), MIMA, Middlesbrough (Forward Thinking, 2008), Workplace Gallery (2012) and shortly at the Camden Arts Center.
Ralf Brög (*1967 in Stuttgart) studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and at Goldsmiths College. London. 1998 the founding of SITE Magazin. There followed participation in exhibitions at CCNOA, Brussels (spatial interventions, 2001), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (Besides, popularity is a rather lumpy concept, no?, 2004), The Suburban, Chicago (curated by Julian Dashper, 2008). His works could recently be seen in a solo exhibition at the Petra Rinck Galerie (FUZZY LOGICS, 2011). XF-Format Part 1 was part of an exhibition at MAP Projekte, Markus Ambach, Düsseldorf (An den Rändern der Kunst, 2012).
From the German by Jeanne Haunschild