Konsortium: Vorsprung durch Technik
28 June - 3 August 2013
Review by Laura Davidson
At TENDERPIXEL until the 3rd of August is the first London show of the seminal artist group Konsortium. ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ brings together the collective practices of Düsseldorf- and Cologne-based Lars Breuer, Sebastian Freytag and Guido Münch. Between 2002 and 2010 Konsortium ran a project space in Düsseldorf, which they have described as a sort of chronological composition collated from their own work and that of local and international artists related to their individual and combined practice. Since the project space closed, the group have been reconsidering the layers of their collaborative relationship and the London exhibition showcases the beginning of this new enquiry.
‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ is a discursive proposition for artistic collaboration through object, space and critical text. The transcribed conversation featured in the accompanying exhibition guide functions as a score for the internal dialogue of the show. Konsortium are indeed keen to negotiate multitudinous identities within the framework of collaboration: as a project space, as curators, as individual artists, as artists within a group and as a group with a single entity. These variables provide a platform from which to investigate the inner workings of their particular collaborative practice and the wider position of Konsortium within the context of the art world.
The concept of a layered collaboration is evident in the London show, through remarks in the discursive text and the curatorial outlook. Inside the gallery hang three identically sized square paintings on three separate walls, unified by a monochromatic mural underneath, which noticeably references discourses of minimalism and commercial design explored in their respective individual practices. Breuer has previously described the group as a band, functioning as solo artists who pull individual influences together to create a unique sound as a group. There is an inherent knowledge in each painting of the existence of the other two. The act of listening between the paintings starts with Freytag’s ‘Veduta’ (2013) - a surface of pure blue on the right wall which segues into the thin blue lines of Münch’s ‘Zuse’ (2013), which is echoed itself through the reflective brass of Breuer’s ‘Esplosione’ (2012). Putting overt orchestral metaphors aside, the act of replicating influence is a trope explored in their individual practices as a method to connect to art history and therefore the art world. It has now outwardly manifested within their collaborative practice and is evidenced in ‘Vokabular’ (2012), the first fully collaborative Konsortium work. From the upper floor there is an audible pulse filling the space and originating in the basement. A two-minute video loops through text set in three distinctive fonts, representative of Breuer, Freytag and Münch. The text has been re-appropriated from older work by the individual group members.
‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ is not necessarily about external references themselves but about cultivating a dialogue as a group that allows development as individual artists. There appears to be a will to not entirely sacrifice solo practices to the group. The lack of distinct lines around this is important. For Konsortium there is a clear and established commitment to maintaining the discussion around the boundaries of individual artists’ works and their location within collaborative structures.