Thursday 31 August 2017

OKEY DOKEY with Galerie 1900-2000 and Neue Alte Brücke

MAX BUCAILLE, Dés, ca.1950, Collage on paper, 16 x 10,5 cm, Courtesy Galerie 1900-2000, Paris


Mystifizierung des Alltags ist der Titel eines Ausstellungsprojekts von Delmes & Zander (Köln), Galerie 1900-2000 (Paris) und Neue Alte Brücke (Frankfurt/ M.) und wurde speziell für Okey Dokey kuratiert.

Ausgangspunkt von Mystifizierung des Alltags ist ein gewöhnlicher Gegenstand, der von einem magischen Moment durchdrungen ist, einer Aura, einer spirituellen Qualität. Objekte, die vertraut erscheinen mögen, sind es plötzlich nicht mehr: sie sind erfüllt von neuer Bedeutung, da sie die Kraft in sich tragen, etwas grundsätzlich anderes zu werden - im Sinne der Wahrnehmung wie der Erkenntnis. Was zunächst eindeutig als Teil des Alltags erkennbar ist, wird zu etwas anderem, gleichzeitig bekannt und fremd, phantastisch und unheimlich, komisch und beunruhigend. Manchmal wandelt es sich in ein Zeichen der Anbetung und ist bedacht mit seiner eigenen Mythologie, oftmals verknüpft mit sexueller Fixierung oder Verlangen. Das Phänomen kann beliebige Objekte mit einer spirituellen Essenz durchdringen, ihnen magische Qualitäten zuschreiben, sie beleben, vermenschlichen oder ihnen gar eine Seele verleihen. Doch es kann ebenso in die einfachsten Alltagshandlungen oder die Erfahrung des umliegenden Raumes eindringen. Mystifizierung des Alltags erhöht das Banale zum Fetisch mittels Umdeutung, durch eine Verschiebung der Perspektive, eine plötzliche Irritation, Strategien der Subjektivierung, der Aneignung und der Re-Kontextualisierung. Und hierin enthüllt sie das innewohnende Geheimnis der Dinge jenseits dem

Okey Dokey ist ein gemeinsames Ausstellungsprojekt von Galerien und Ausstellungsräumen in Düsseldorf und Köln mit internationalen Kollegen. An den insgesamt 9 Standorten der Gastgeber entstehen in enger Zusammenarbeit mit den Gästen eigens für dieses Projekt gemeinsam kuratierte Gruppenausstellungen.


Mystification of the Everyday is the title of a collaborative exhibition between Delmes & Zander (Cologne), Galerie 1900-2000 (Paris) and Neue Alte Brücke (Frankfurt/ M.) and was especially curated for Okey Dokey.

Mystification of the Everyday takes as a point of departure a commonplace subject and imbues it with a magical moment, an aura, a spiritual quality. Objects which may appear familiar are suddenly not: they are instilled with new meaning because they intrinsically withhold the power of becoming something completely new, both in terms of cognition and of perception. What appears to be an instantly recognizable everyday thing is something else, at once known and unknown, visionary and uncanny, comic and unsettling. At times it is turned into a token of worship and infused with a mythology of its own, often by association of sexual desire or erotic fixation. The phenomenon can permeate random objects with a spiritual essence, attribute magical qualities to them, animate them, humanize them or even lend them a soul, but it can also pervade the simplest ritual of day-to-day life or the experience of surrounding place and space. The Mystification of the Everyday elevates the banal to a fetishized subject by the power of reinterpretation, a shift in perspective, a sudden displacement, strategies of subjectification, appropriation and recontextualization and by doing so reveals the intrinsic mystery beyond the self-evident.

Okey Dokey is a joint exhibition project of galleries and exhibition spaces in Cologne and Düsseldorf with international colleagues.For this project collectively curated group shows will be developed in close cooperation with the guests and take place at the 9 different spaces of the hosts.

Künstler / Artists
ARROYO Eduardo
KUDO Tetsumi
MARGRET – Chronicle of an Affair
ORTH Dietrich
PONTE Francesco
UBAC Raoul
WALLA August
YORK Reece

Saturday 26 August 2017

OKEY DOKEY: A new initiative brings galleries to the Rhineland on APOLLO

Max Bucaille, Dés (ca. 1950), Galerie 1900–2000 at Delmes & Zander. Courtesy Galerie 1900–2000

A new initiative brings galleries to the Rhineland

 by Stephanie Dieckvoss / Apollo Magazine (26 July 2017)

"A new gallery initiative, Okey Dokey, will take place in Düsseldorf and Cologne from 9–30 September, launching alongside the ninth edition of DC Open (8–10 September). The project has been organised by three young galleries, Ginerva Gambino, Jan Kaps and Max Mayer, which have invited nine emerging spaces in Cologne and Düsseldorf to host exhibitions by international galleries: the result is nine curated group shows in nine spaces. Okey Dokey – named after Konrad Fischer’s favourite catch-phrase – looks back to the efforts of Dusseldorf gallerist Fischer who was instrumental in bringing international artists to the Rhineland. The organisers also cite The Köln Show, staged in 1990, which saw nine galleries present work by new artists without institutional help.

Developed in early 2017, Okey Dokey stands as an interesting counterpoint to Art Berlin, a new fair running from 14–17 September (replacing abc berlin), which operates this year on an invitational gallery selection process. The organisers of Okey Dokey instead emphasise collaborative working practices and the notion of the gallery as a key exhibition space for a period of time that extends beyond the brief art fair circus. Invited exhibitor Susanne Zander praises the ‘openness and seriousness’ of the young organisers. She has invited established Galerie 1900–2000 from Paris, together with Frankfurt-based Neue Alte Brücke to stage an exhibition titled ‘Mystification of the Everyday’, which looks at the transformation of familiar objects. And as Rozsa Farkas from London’s Arcadia Missa tells me: ‘It’s nice to be hosted rather than be the host. I’m excited to see Phoebe Collings-James’ work in a different space and new city’. [...]

It is refreshing to see an initiative that focuses on this German region – and in contrast to what might be happening in Berlin. The Rhineland has shown international art in innovative ways since the 1960s and created meaningful exchanges between artists, galleries and collectors. Perhaps what is required is a new group of galleries in Cologne and Düsseldorf to remind us of the importance of this once booming art region. Crucially, Okey Dokey is experimenting with new ways of working together, bringing international colleagues and artists to the organisers’ home region outside the art fair context. Let’s hope it works and that it is the beginning of more to come."

Okey Dokey’s confirmed gallery participants:
  • Delmes & Zander (Cologne) hosts Neue Alte Brücke (Frankfurt) and Galerie 1900–2000 (Paris) 
  • Lucas Hirsch (Dusseldorf) hosts Stereo (Warsaw) and Lomex (New York) 
  • Max Mayer (Dusseldorf) hosts Arcadia Missa (London), Miguel Abreu Gallery (New York), and Misako & Rosen (Tokyo) 
  • Drei (Cologne) hosts Kirchgasse (Steckborn, Switzerland) and Lulu (Mexico City) 
  • Jan Kaps (Cologne) hosts Weiss Falk (Basel), Edouard Montassut (Paris), and Sax Publishers (Vienna) 
  • Studio for Propositional Cinema (Dusseldorf) hosts Barbara Rüdiger with Anna Sophie-Berger Ginerva Gambino (Cologne) hosts Ermes Ermes (Vienna and Rome), Sandy Brown (Berlin), and Truth and Consequences (Geneva) 
  • Linden (Dusseldorf) hosts tbc 
  • Rob Tufnell (Cologne) hosts Tanya Leighton (Berlin) 
The show opens on September 8, 2017
You can read the complete article on

Scott Indrisek about: "When Is an Artist’s Mental Health Your Business?" on ARTSY.NET

Disko Girls (Anonymous), untitled, 1970s-1980s (archive-# 4). Courtesy Delmes & Zander, Cologne.

When Is an Artist’s Mental Health Your Business?

Scott Indrisek on ARTSY (Jul 31st, 2017)

"What does an understanding of an artist’s life story bring to bear on their work? It’s an old question, and of course, one that doesn’t have an easy answer. Biographical information can enrich our understanding of a practice, but it can also narrow a viewer’s focus, forcing critical interpretations through a distorting lens. [...]

What Difference Does It Make?

We generally want to know more about all the artists we love—whether or not those facts actually enhance our understanding of the work they make. We crave gossip and insider dirt, or at least a broader picture of a life. “That’s one of the reasons why the Calvin Tomkins [profiles] in the New Yorker are so fascinating,” Higgs says. “It’s one of the rare opportunities to get a glimpse into an artist’s background, what their parents did, how they grew up, what their circumstances are—all of which is useful information.”

But with outsider artists, it’s important not to indulge in sensationalism under the guise of scholarship. Rousseau does admit that, in certain cases, a deeper understanding of someone’s mental health or related background can be fruitful. She points to George Widener, an artist who has Asperger’s Syndrome. “Because of his love for inventories and numbers, it’s not an un-useful fact to know,” she says. “He also has a photographic memory. It helps you understand a cause and effect. But that’s not often the case.”

In other instances, seeing beyond biographies and categorical distinctions seems to be a way out of the morass. “I’m led to believe that there is no difference between the ‘eccentric’ artist and the professional artist, when they’re dealing with matter and materials,” Gioni says. “In the moment they sit down to make, I ultimately don’t think there’s any difference in the knowledge they have of their hands meeting the material.”

Susanne Zander of Cologne-based Delmes & Zander echoes that sentiment. Her gallery represents the likes of Eugene von Bruenchenhein and Prophet Royal Robertson. “Essentially, we are not that interested in the mental history of the artist,” she says. “The selection of the artists in our program is based mainly on the quality of their work, irrespective of whether or not it was produced specifically for the art market. It’s important for us that the quality is on a par with established art production, and that the artists are judged not for any of their psychological problems—but rather for the quality, individuality, and autonomy of their artistic work.”

As for the basic phrase “outsider art,” Zander feels that it has lost its usefulness. “We feel that the term ‘outsider’ focuses too strongly on the personal situation of the artist and misleads the public, who neglect the actual work itself. We see each work not in reference to a classification or terminology, but for what it really is.”

“The most respectful way to talk about an artist with any condition or pathologies is to stick to the facts,” Edlin says. “If there are things that are unknown—but evidence that suggests certain possibilities—than that’s exactly how it should be put across. Focus on the work, and use the biographical info to help interpret the artmaking process.”

At the same time, Edlin recognizes that an exceptional background can add another dimension to the appreciation of the work. “One of the most interesting and exciting results of accurately explaining the details of the lives of outsider artists—or any artists who have overcome incredibly challenging circumstances—is that their art becomes even more transcendent and uplifting for the viewer,” he continues. “It’s important to remember that figures like Henry Darger, Adolf Wölfli, and Martín Ramírez were some of the most downtrodden artists we’ve ever known. Genius resides in some of the most unlikely of places.”

When Ignorance Is Bliss

“Despite thorough research it has not been possible to identify the artist behind these drawings, found in Germany in the late 1990s,” read the press statement for a group of 50 stunningly idiosyncratic colored-pencil drawings that Delmes & Zander showed at this year’s Independent art fair in New York. Based on its content, the series had been dubbed “Disko Girls,” a title that was “attributed to the work out of respect for the unnamed and unknown author.”

Here, finally, is a case study that happily short-circuits everything we’ve just discussed. For the moment, it’s possible to stand in front of these strange portraits—titillating, disturbing, campy, playful, raw—with absolutely zero baggage.

Perhaps art-historical sleuthing will turn up the artist’s identity in the next few years. Perhaps we’ll find out that he was an orthodontist in Cologne who drew on the weekends, or that she was a university student who copied designs from advertisements and pornographic magazines. Biography will become a magnifying glass used to zoom in on what was once peculiar, elusive, and magnificently foreign about the artist. With any luck, that day will never come.

By Scott Indrisek; Jul 31st, 2017 5:44 pm

You can read the complete article on