23.5 x 47 x 0 cm (variable depth)
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Purchase made possible by the bequest of Elisabeth Lauener
Homage to the Square, 1969, After Josef Albers
The American artist Jill Magid (born 1973 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA) works with strategies of appropriation that are intertwined with visual, textual, and performative components. She investigates the sometimes very tense relations between individuals and authorities. By weaving authentic documents into new narratives, Magid reveals the absurdity of our relationship to power and institutions. Her project “Evidence Locker” from 2004, for example, is about trying to control her own surveillance. While living in the British city of Liverpool for one month, she worked with the police service City Watch, which conducts the surveillance of public spaces through CCTV. Magid ensured she was being filmed by City Watch while walking through the city’s pedestrian areas, along the main shopping street, or while drinking coffee at a cafe. In order to receive copies of the video material, she had to submit 31 applications, which she chose to write in the form of love letters to the police. “Evidence Locker” can also be understood as an artistic demonstration of Foucault’s idea that there are points of resistance everywhere in the networks of power.(1)
The two yellow book objects that can be found in the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv are also sophisticated and enigmatic. These two works refer to Josef Albers’ series of paintings called “Homage to a Square” and to the Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s homage to Josef Albers. Barragán owned two unlicensed copies of Albers’ works, which were apparently cheaply made prints on textile. However, there is also a persistent rumor that Barragán actually presented these pictures in his own home as two original Josef Albers paintings, and photographs showing one of these reproductions in his living room have since become icons. Playing on this anecdote, Magid produced her own homages according to Albers’ meticulous notes on the back of his paintings, in which he wrote down the colors he used. Instead of exploring the currently relevant issue of art forgery, however, she questions the principles of authorship and originality, arguing in favor of an exchange of artistic ideas and public access to artistic legacies.
Dominique von Burg
(1) See Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, vol. 1, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books/Random House, 1990/1978 ), p. 95.