In October 2013, Joanna Kamm hosted the Karl Larsson exhibition Twelve Hours at her Berlin-Mitte gallery, Galerie Kamm. In 2014, a metaphorical twelve months later, the title has appeared in the gallery once again, playing host to a familiar roster of works save for select new additions. One such alteration is a shallow scratch in the plaster wall at the gallery’s entrance. The gash, Form Was Not Born From An Idea, It Was An Idea Vanishing, sets the tone for this re-visitation.
The exhibition’s accompanying text, an excerpt from Gérard Petitjean, explains Twelve Hours as the time allotted to French philosopher and philologist Michel Foucault every year to explain in a public university course his research and direction in the year that has just ended. It is a period of re-visitation, but inevitably too, a reinterpretation by both the thinker and the students who play witness to the lectures.
Karl Larsson, Any Idea What It Costs To Fill A 160GB Ipod With Legally Purchased Songs?, 2014, Framed ink jet print, 58 x 103 x 4.5 cm, 1/3 + 1 A/P; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Kamm, Berlin.
The Swedish-born artist’s exhibitions are collections of “objects that turn the act of reading into the act of dwelling.” The search to link meaning to disparate, pared down bodies seemingly bobbing aimlessly in the gallery space lends the entire construction a sense of poetry that draws a direct line from the artist’s own anthologies. References often stem directly from Larsson’s written words, as in Any Idea What It Costs To Fill A 160GB iPod With Legally Purchased Songs?, a question that first arose in his book of poems, Parrot, printed by Paraguay Press in 2010. The words were only later translated into physical idea within the gallery space. Here, in the “cage” of the gallery, the poetic phrases are picked apart and incarnated as investigations of the circumstances of the artistic process, the search for reason in individualized interpretation, and reductions of the everyday occurrences that parallel and come to make up Larsson’s artistic practice. All of it is completely and perfectly fleeting.
After the original installation of Twelve Hours last year, explains gallerist Joanna Kamm, the artist came to realize that only after the work had been installed, after the show had already commenced, did the show really seem to be “ready to exhibit.” Therefore the idea of review emerged. Not only poetic review through the installation of the physical bodies in the gallery space, but an invitation to edit the original interpretation of the “gallery (…) as a document” subject to revisions. This tactic takes on additional significance with the recent announcement that Galerie Kamm will be closing this September after a thirteen year run making Twelve Hours its penultimate exhibition.
Karl Larsson, Twelve Hours, 2013, Installation view; © Photo: Andrea Rossetti; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Kamm, Berlin
To revisit is to explore anew, to re-examine, to tempt a whole host of conclusions or perhaps even reconstruct original premises. The re-installation of Twelve Hours—with the same press release, nearly identical imagery, and a reconfiguration of almost the same work—a year after its inception is precisely the type of reflection Larsson habitually constructs.
In 2014, Larsson's exhibition does not call upon the viewer to reinterpret the differences between spaces then and now; it puts forth the poem of a space as an ever changing circumstance, a value which can only live in the memory of the idea which created it.
(Image on top: Karl Larsson, Twelve Hours, 2013, Installation view; © Photo: Andrea Rossetti; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Kamm, Berlin)