Johannes Albers: Brief an die Händler 11. February 2011 - 02. April 2011

The most striking travel experience is probably in the film ‘Planet of the Apes’ as Charlton Heston, walking along the beach suddenly discovers a sunken Statue of Liberty. After a lengthy and onerous journey he has landed, entirely unexpectedly, exactly in the same place where he took off from so many years ago. Home. Johannes Albers also appears to find himself on a journey and he is writing an open letter to us, ‘Brief an die Händler’ (Epistle to the dealers) is the title of his new exhibition. With dealers Albers refers to the modern Homo oeconomicus, this curious cost-benefit creature of our times, who like Goethe’s Mephistopheles is consistently self-serving and consistently doing good. Is that really true? Albers attempts to look behind the balance sheets, beyond the clouds of the market and thus discovers that the heaven of this realm has been pretty much devoured. A bicycle, as space debris, is enthroned above all, whereas in Titian’s Assumption of Mary there is still a wise, bearded man searching for the righteous. Here Gewinn (Gain) lacks a broad grin, but floats wondrously and fatefully in the room like the sword of Excalibur. ‘Gain’ is instead more of a secretive Mona Lisa smile. What are the elements, the inner compounds that unify this world? If a biblical character 2000 years ago should want to explain what something at its very depth consists of, he would describe how this thing came to be. Der Ursprung der Welt (The Origin of the World) for Johannes Albers looks like a curved ping pong table. In earlier works, the motif of the ping pong table serves as a metaphor for a monochrome, romantic landscape view. Here arise physical analogies. In 1866 Courbet painted a small painting entitled The Origin of the World, portraying a woman’s exposed abdomen and genitals. Regardless of the complexity, this is the shared point of departure for our journey. A journey in which we will gain a lot, just so that we can lose it all in the end. And then we are home.

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