Our upcoming group show will be held under the moniker Spurensicherung, a German forensics term that means literally “to secure traces”. The title is drawn from an exhibition in 1974 at the Hamburger Kunstverein, curated by the art historian Günter Metken (1928, Germany – 2000, Libya), which included some of the most interesting artists from the early Seventies.
In the main gallery space we will be showing found and constructed artefacts by Doug Ashford, Rossella Biscotti, Kevin van Braak, Sara Se Jin Chang (Sara van der Heide), Patricia Kaersenhout, Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Matts Leiderstam and Aimée Zito Lema. On our 4th floor space we will present rare and esoteric uses of photography and printing techniques by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Marc De Blieck, Henry Fox Talbot, Susanne Kriemann, Matts Leiderstam, Albrecht Meydenbauer, Secondo Pia, Hans de Vries and Aimée Zito Lema.
The curatorial and artistic discourses remain fascinated by historical traces. Today many artists use methods similar to that of archaeologists and forensic researchers, and curators are making shows where these works are prominent—a trend that has been going on for at least fifteen years. Yet ironically, the 1974 Spurensicherung exhibition and the eponymous accompanying catalogue seem to have been totally forgotten.
For the summer months we are presenting a group show that borrows this exhibition title as a tribute to Metken. Rather than providing a broad historical overview, the show takes a playful and intuitive approach, with works by contemporary artists who share similar interests. We also introduce historical photography from 19th century pioneers, which was instrumental in providing evidence, and put this in dialogue with contemporary works.
Why are artists continually interested in historical traces? The catalogue, published in 1977, reveals that artists had doubts about technical progress and the use of mass media, and in general were anxious about a cultural amnesia in society. These artists responded with introspection and started gathering relics, historical documents, and everyday artefacts. Appropriating these often vernacular objects in their work, they created new artistic experiences that trigger our personal and collective memories.