“(…) What underlies the working methods Wiebke Grösch and Frank Metzger have consistently pursued throughout their artistic collaboration and their formal handling of elements and media is clarity of vision. By dint of scrupulous analyses, relations among things are established, whereby resistance can be evoked as a possibility at any time—often playfully—and scope for action brought to light. (…)
How does art become a tool for analyzing social processes? By what means can art activate discursive consciousness? The expanded concept of art that dates back to the early 1970s and the concomitant aesthetic dimension of the political are central to the works of Grösch and Metzger. For a considerable time now, artists have drawn on research practices such as mapping, comparative analysis, historical and biographical research, interviews and statistics, which, in the exhibition context, are not perceived as information but as research-based art. Knowledge, in other words, systematically applied in the form of a presentational model, is translated into an artistic discourse. Here Wiebke Grösch and Frank Metzger are in line with such artists as Andrea Fraser and Hans Haacke who base their works on artistic research. Artistic procedures are no longer simply reducible to picture production, but now include artistic strategies that engage with the production of knowledge. Artistic research can thus expand the forms of scientific research.
Ultimately, pictorial research is what is at issue here. The working methods of picture analysis and appropriation have levelled the way for artistic research, representing a transition from pure to applied research. No less important is a complex interest in themes and subjects drawn from spheres as various as theatre, politics and society which are brought into relation in artistic works. Wiebke Grösch and Frank Metzger open these parameters to discussion, using overlaps (e.g. ‘Steadicam’) and juxtaposition (‘European Theatre’) to point to forms of artistic research based on complex thematic interrelations. Their installation works are also concerned to break open (‘Dies alles, Herzchen, hat einmal uns gehört’ for instance) or analyze (‘Ohne Titel’) social structures or to lay bare the processes involved (‘Ich werde hier sein, im Schatten und im Licht’). They subvert the discursive power of scientific classification by allowing a calculated fuzziness and ambiguity to enter their work (e.g. ‘A Villagein the City, Disappearing’). What makes this artistic research so relevant for the present is its return to the heterogeneity of the act of speech. As Dirck Möllmann has written: ‘Art has always been able to intervene in social reality by altering its status as commodity and as a tool of social distinction so that sometimes it has hardly been recognizable as art anymore. Funnily enough, if artistic research were to achieve this it would be genuinely avant-garde.’”
*This is an excerpt of a text which has been published in a monographic catalog which has been published on the occasion of the solo exhibition “Wiebke Grösch and Frank Metzger – To the People of the City” at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, December 8th 2012 to February 03rd 2013.
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