Lundahl & Seitl’s work ‘New Originals’ (2017) was developed expressly for the Kunstmuseum Bonn and marks a new phase in the way the artists work. For the first time, an audio-performative work by Lundahl & Seidl is not related exclusively to an already defined and occupied spatial situation and is not being presented as part of a group exhibition or as an event, but is instead taking place as an independent exhibition over a three month stretch of time.
The work invites the visitor to give thought to the provenance of images and the development of memories. How do pictures arise and how do we remember them? What role is played therein by original and copy? Through the encounter with modes of mental access to the works and by recalling works from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Bonn, new and unique originals are summoned up in the imagination of each individual participant.
‘New Originals’ is an installation with an audio-walk as the core piece which visitors experience individually. The audio-walk doesn’t require the utilization of further performers, whereas in several earlier works by Lundahl & Seitl the participants were individually led, to some extent, by means of the sense of touch.
Through the short story Die Quallenfalle (‘The Jellyfish Trap’) written by Alex Backstrom for the exhibition, the work extends into literary space. The story is appearing as a booklet prior to the exhibition opening. The theme of New Originals is accordingly already being introduced in the form of a narrative that establishes links to the pictorial contents of selected works from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Bonn. Die Quallenfalle tells of a person who is fascinated by collecting memories stored in capsules, and it points toward the possibilities and dimensions of the power of imagination.
The inclusion of works from the collection of the Kunst- museum Bonn determines the visual presentation of New Originals in two of what is a total of three exhibition spaces. A focus on nature, cartography, landscape and sources of light was the connecting element for Christer Lundahl and Martina Seitl in making the selection in order to shape the scenes of the exhibition in which their audio-walk is anchored. But Lundahl & Seidl do not only make use of originals. Christer Lundahl made copies of two paintings; the other works on display come from reproduced works or consist of printed books, likewise published in extensive print runs. In this way, the artists were able to shape the two outer rooms in a seemingly identical manner. This perturbs visitors and also motivates them to give thought to the themes of original, copy and memory.
In their audio-walk, Lundahl & Seitl use sounds and spoken texts from headphones as well as text messages on mobile telephones to expand the experiential space of the pictures, objects and books on display.
‘New Originals’ places the participants in front of the works of art as actual material givens but, in a construction of spaces, texts and noises, it simultaneously demands and facilitates a special approach to the pictures – an assimilation and transformation of them which makes it possible to transcend a superficial, static perception of such givens and to experience reality as an open process.
This excerpt from the catalogue of Lundahl & Seitl New Originals is published with the kind permission of Kunstmuseum Bonn.