Letter to the director

This doesn’t look like a real building, advice it’s only a facade, a decor.
It would be too easy to compose digitally such a picture, that’s why it must be true.
And that crappy LED screen would be really hard to fake.
facade of the museum

To Ms Eva Schmidt
Museum of contemporary art Siegen
Unteres Schloss 1
57072 Siegen

Dear Ms Eva Schmidt, medications

My work, health which I created especially for this show will be handed over to you on DVDs by Matthias Weiss on Monday 24 september, as promised and I still expect you to hang it in the spaces we had agreed on, the 31 august 2007.
To sum up the events, I came on 31 August to the museum in Siegen to make agreements on the hanging of my show opening on the 16 of September, as part of the Knotenpunkte manifestation. This show consists of digital works displayed on 6 the flat screen panels available in your museum. It appeared that, due to the prolongation of the Sigmar Polke show, there was not a single wall available in the whole museum to hang a show of Mouchette. Nevertheless, you indicated the walls around the lift on 3 floors as the place of my exhibition. The space there is very narrow, offering no distance to the viewer to look at a large size flat screen panel, no possibility to stand there for a few minutes, several walls bear an “emergency exit” sign. It’s a circulation space, not an exhibition space, and to the exception of one of these walls on the first floor, no one would reasonably consider hanging a work of art there. I had previously expressed the wish to have these flat panels displayed on the walls, just like paintings, between the paintings here and there within the collection of the museum, which had proved to be impossible because there was a private collection on show. You knew my proposal to have these flat screens hanging as paintings on the wall, but your intention was to relegate them to the lift space which is not a proper exhibition space.
One of the missions of the manifestation Knotenpunkte is to integrate internet art to the museums and art collections in North Rhine Westphalia, to legitimize its artistic nature but your choice of space clearly indicated that my work didn’t belong inside your museum, as a worthy part of its collection. Such a hanging would have been as damaging to the quality of your museum, as it would have been to my work.
Obviously, no decent show could hang there on the 16 september for the opening, so I had to make concessions and with the help of Matthias Weiss a counter-proposal was formulated. Only one work could hang on 16 September on the only possible wall on the first floor behind the lift space. You suggested some walls which would come free after the end of the Polke show on 23 september: the entrance foyer and the first floor gallery.

This was the agreement on which we settled on the 31 august (or so did I think).
-On the 16 sept. “Immortality” hanging behind the lift space on the first floor.
-After the 23, on the 24 or 25 september, 3 screens in the foyer, with the works “Ghost City”, “Evenings” on the front wall, “Suicide Kit” on the wall on the side of the staircase. In the gallery of the first floor “Lullaby for a Dead Fly”.
-On the ground floor, in the space behind the lift leading to the cloakroom, quite a remote space, hardly suitable for hanging a work of art, “I Hate Mouchette” which has an irritating sound of synthetic voices and therefore should rather be set aside.

I hear from Matthias Weiss that you are planning a much different hanging that the one that was agreed on. This is why I need to confirm the only hanging to which I gave my agreement. Any other hanging is a personal decision of your part, made without the consent of the artist or the curator and without any previous negociation.
I see in a photo that you have hung the first work “Immortality” in the remote space next to the cloakroom, right under the “exit” sign. This wasn’t the place that we had previously agreed on, it should have come on the first floor. You didn’t negociate that with me, and neither will you negotiate the changes of places that you are planning to do. Decisions were simply imposed.
You may give justifications to your decisions: “there was no room, I know my museum, etc….” Nevertheless, postponing the show for more than a week and hanging the works in remote places and doing this without negociations, without offering excuses, speaks for itself. It seems to me that there is a lack of respect regarding the work and the curatorial idea.
The purpose of the manifestation Knotenpunkte is to create a dialogue between museums and artists working with internet. You haven’t been willing to engage this dialogue and I deeply regret it. Therefore I take the care to write this letter doing an extra effort to explain my point to you, trying to make it up for your lack of communication and interest.

A copy of this letter will be given to the central organisation of this show, the Kultursekretariat NRW Guetersloh, through Matthias Weiss (in a german translation if necessary).

Sincerely yours,

M the artist
Amsterdam 24 September 2007



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace