December 1, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Text by Line Ebert
Inge and Rita move through Frankfurt, as a series of unstaged events take place: the carnival, a strike in front of the opera house, a police choir concert with a Tiller Girls interlude, violent demonstrations following the demolition of residential houses to make space commercial skyscrapers. We learn about the language of public events. The two women are fictional characters from In Danger and Deep Distress, the Middleway Spells Certain Death, Alexander Kluge’s essayistic portrait of a city trading away its subconscious potential for a fiction of transparency and infrastructure. While Inge sleeps with the police chief, Rita investigates the behavior of the police at a football match. Inge Maier sleeps with men and steals their wallets. Not as prostitution, but as a driving force, a libidinal and capitalistic interest in both the body and exchange. Rita Müller-Eisert is a communist spy on a search for the visible reality of West Germany. She writes lengthy lyrical reports and photographs minor quotidian details. But while her superiors expect collections of useful facts about the West, she misunderstands her task and takes a different approach to documenting the secrets of this other way of living. Facts, she says stubbornly, can be found at any given time in the newspaper. Even as the figure of the spy is clouded by humorous ambivalence, the questions she poses for aesthetic artifice and forms of documentation are earnest.
A foot in a painting is not just a foot, but an attention to direction. It is a proposition regarding a certain kind of indexicality through which the producer, Rita, or now the painter, crops out an interior from an exterior circumstance and draws it into a process of highlighting and editing. Painting is taken as spiritual photoshop, where the tools of production perform on the same stage on which the social micro dramas play out. Everything of importance can be found on the pictorial plane, if the frame is ever transgressed, it is not to expose an architectural structure, but rather to say: there is always more, but right now this really is it. The palette aligns itself with the present genre of taking notes and inventories, recording not what happened, but that something did happen. It takes a synthesis (an Eintopf) to be precise, it takes detours to observe.