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Schirn Kunsthalle shows first retrospective dedicated to the founder of the Friday Kitchen Michael Riedel
Michael Riedel, Poster Paintings, 2011. Installationsansicht "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", David Zwirner, New York, 2011. Courtesy Michael Riedel und David Zwirner, New York© Michael Riedel.

FRANKFURT.- Recording – labeling – playback. Frankfurt-based artist Michael Riedel has been investigating the issue of reproduction and repetition since his first performances in the context of the legendary art space “Oskar-von-Miller-Straße 16,” which he initiated at this address in Frankfurt in 2000. This was the venue of repetitions or copies of exhibitions, concerts, readings, club evenings, and of the “Freitagsküche” (Friday Kitchen), an event amidst art and life continued to this day. Riedel works with recorded conversations, films, performances, or other artists’ shows. His system of production is based on the combination of these elements into ever new variations and on the transformation of one medium into another. Through the process of transcription, for example, Riedel transfers voice recordings into the visual realm, defamiliarizing and expanding them with the help of technological means in order to ultimately reproduce them in a new variation or replay them. With “Kunste zur Text,” the Schirn Kunsthalle presents a first retrospective of Michael Riedel’s work.

Michael Riedel was born in Rüsselsheim in 1972. He lives and works in Frankfurt today, where he graduated from the Städel School in 2000. Relying on the principle of repetition, the artist is not concerned with the authentic reproduction of a certain event or content, but with the difference the transformation from one medium into the other entails. Riedel made a name for himself with his performances in the art space “Oskar-von-Miller-Straße 16,” where he, together with some of his friends, realized a manifold program comprising reenactments of installations, concerts, films, and club evenings – as repetitions of the original events, so to speak.

Located next to the preserved portico of the old City Library, the Portikus, the Städel School’s exhibition hall for contemporary art, repeatedly provided a reference point for Riedel’s performances, as the exhibitions presented there were restaged in the space “Oskar-von-MillerStraße 16.” On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition “Nine Dark Pictures” by Gilbert & George, the Portikus itself became the venue of an intervention titled “Gert & Georg (Gilbert & George)” on March 23, 2002. Michael Riedel and Dennis Loesch had engaged two actors who, keeping a discreet distance, mimicked the movements of Gilbert and George following them for about two hours – a subevent realized in the same place as the opening. In 2004, Michael Riedel founded the Friday Kitchen at the address Oskar-von-Miller-Straße No. 16. Riedel’s Friday Kitchen has established itself in Frankfurt as a social meeting place and restaurant; it recalls the days of the restaurant “Food” (1972–1974) in New York, which had been founded by the artist Gordon Matta-Clark among others.

After the building had been torn down in 2006, the Friday Kitchen was continued in Berlin for two years before it opened its doors again in Frankfurt, at Mainzer Landstraße No. 105, in 2010. In 2003, Michael Riedel presented a one-to-one reconstruction of “Oskar-von-Miller-Straße 16” as a sculpture with life-size black and-white pictures of the various events at the group exhibition “Kontext Form Troja” in the Secession in Vienna. In 2006, he evoked the demolition of the building by having the complete exhibition space sewn in fabric and loosely put over the existing architecture in the context of a presentation at the Fine Arts Fair in Frankfurt.

In his conceptual practice, Riedel relies on a wide variety of media and formats from works on canvas, film, video, and audio recordings to artist’s books, posters, installations, and events depending on the reference point of the work and the degree of its media transformation. He uses the strategy of recording, labeling, and playback. In Riedel’s work, a recording is by no means a one-to-one reproduction of a club evening or reading, but a copy containing all the recording equipment’s fluctuations in quality, all technical flaws. Rather than showing the mere achievement of the translation – such as of a given text into a new text – Michael Riedel’s works reveal the possibilities provided by often just minimal interventions into the extant material. The resultant works frequently serve as starting points for new ones.

Beginning with early works – such as “Michael S. Riedel” (1997), a lecture held at the Städel School, which the artist concluded by putting a pager bag with his name over his head while saying “I am Michael S. Riedel” and thus equating himself as an artist with his work – and ending with quite recent works, the exhibition at the Schirn for the first time juxtaposes various of Riedel’s work series to form a new installation, which offers an insight into the artist’s manifold production methods. From the publication “Gedruckte und ungedruckte Poster” (Printed and Unprinted Posters, 2003–2008) and his sequence of poster and PowerPoint paintings (2010–), “Vier Vorschläge zur Veränderung von Modern” (Four Proposals for Changing Modern, 2007–) and “Frieze (CMYK)” (2007) to “Filmed Film Trailer” (2008) – an 8:05-minute summary of the “Filmed Film” archives (1999–2002), which Riedel recorded from more than ninety films screened in cinemas in and around Frankfurt – the confrontation of individual series in the Schirn Kunsthalle visualizes and elucidates the method of recording and copying, transforming something from one medium into another, and playing it back in a new version.

The space “Oskar-von-Miller-Straße 16” will also be present at the Schirn in a room especially opened for the show and turned into a walk-in sculpture with posters and flyers. The principle of repetition recurs in the architecture of “Kunste zur Text.” Riedel uses the walls of the previous show, “Edvard Munch. The Modern Eye” as a projection surface for his own presentation. A large wall surface Riedel developed from the exhibition poster “Poster (Kunste zur Text)” (2012), which is based on the source code of a website referring to the show, serves as a frame.

Solo exhibitions of Michael Riedel’s work have been shown in the Kunstverein, Hamburg (2010), the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main (2008), the Kunstraum Innsbruck (2007), as well as at the David Zwirner Gallery, New York (2005, 2008, 2011). The artist also presented his works in major group exhibitions in the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM), Torino (2010) and the Tate Modern, London (2009), at the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007), the Moscow Biennial in the Lenin Museum (2005), a.o.

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