MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present Helke Bayrle’s Portikus Under Construction.
Portikus Under Construction consists of 137 videos, each shot by the artist and documenting the installation of an exhibition at the noted exhibition hall in her hometown of Frankfurt am Main. These “artist portraits,” as she calls them, provide an intimate behind-the-scenes view of exhibition making. Artists such as Judith Hopf and Henrik Olesen, Jason Rhoades, Frances Stark and Wade Guyton are seen unpacking their work, instructing art handlers, interacting with curators, smoking cigarettes, contemplating the installation, and attempting to discursively frame their work by shouting over the background din of drills and tools.
Bayrle’s backstage material covers the final production stages of the exhibitions, often also the finished show, the press conference, the opening—thus capturing different modes of artistic practice as well as divisions of labor. Despite a clear focus on the artists, figures and activities usually considered peripheral acquire a strong presence, as one cannot for instance help but recognize individual installers as they reappear throughout the different films.
The long-term project, which Helke Bayrle has rigorously pursued since 1993, functions furthermore as a fascinating history of a legendary exhibition space; and as a personal document of the artist’s own subjective reception of each one of these exhibitions at Portikus.
Helke Bayrle’s exhibition at Ludlow 38, the artist's first in the United States, will present Portikus Under Construction in its entirety, including five new videos made available to the public for the first time.
The exhibition will make use of open edition SqU by Eric Anglès and John Martin Widger. Open edition SqU is a wooden bench on casters that sits two persons comfortably. As all of Eric Anglès’ work, this is an unlimited edition that is exhibited only in constellation with work by others.
Helke Bayrle (*1941 in Torun, Poland) lives and works in Frankfurt am Main. In addition to her independent practice, she has been working together with Thomas Bayrle since 1969. She has had exhibitions at Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2010); CoCA – Center of Contemporary Art, Torun (2012) and Peephole, Milan (2012). Her videos have been screened in many institutions internationally, including MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) Frankfurt am Main; National Gallery, Toronto; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main; CCA – Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu; Massey University, Wallington; OCA – Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo; Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, and were included in the exhibition Beziehungsarbeit at Künstlerhaus, Vienna (2011). A DVD edition of Portikus Under Construction was published with Sternberg Press in 2009.