Absolut Art Bar - Palais de Tokyo

Have you ever wondered what happens at the end of an exhibition? The artworks are returned to the archives, or the donating institutions they’ve come from. However, the display elements—especially designed as a link between the art, the museum’s own architecture, and the directional intentions of curators—are dismantled and discarded, as they are often too expensive to keep. German artist Michael Riedel has made the material and immaterial residue of exhibitions the center of his practice. He directs the gaze to the labor and matter that exist around the art itself and the making of an exhibition. Riedel funnels these explorations into his own artwork through the use of text. His practice includes large scale canvases, books, posters, installations, audio recordings and events (he runs the legendary Freitag Kueche in Frankfurt) but text is the basis of all his output.

For his second immersive art-bar installation at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, titled “Dual Air (Dürer)”, Riedel transformed discarded display elements from a major exhibition of Albrecht Dürer at Frankfurt’s Städel Museum into the architecture of a communal space where, over the next few months, a program of lectures, screening and events will take place in the area created by Absolut. In order to translate the end of an exhibition into text, Riedel recorded the process of dismantling the Dürer show and fed the recorded noise—hammering, drilling and moving—into a voice recognition program. “These programs are getting increasingly smarter”, he complained, “and some of them don’t transcribe a noise they don’t understand anymore, so I get less and less text.” Nevertheless, the program wrote a (syntactically incoherent) textual piece that now covers the art-bar space entirely. All the L’s in the text are bold, and this links the installation to the bar Riedel designed last year, entitled “Jacques Comite (Giacometti)”, where the O’s were highlighted. The O’s and L’s reflect the binary opposition of ones and zeroes at the basis of digital language, and the opposition between “art” and “not art” as the main focus of his work.

A sophisticated Parisian art crowd gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the space. A glass vitrine which once displayed writings by Dürer now doubles as a dj table, playing 60’s beat and rock n’ roll records. Another vitrine found its new incarnation as a bar, where party goers enjoyed cocktails designed by Riedel, aptly named L’art, L’eouvre, and L’information. A microphone installed above the dance floor recorded the fete, and fed it into a program that projected the converted text on a wall. Riedel will create a final art-bar for this trilogy. It remains to see how the noise of this bustling event will be turned into art.

Dual Air [Dürer]
An Absolut art bar installation by Michael Riedel
Le Point Perché, Palais de Tokyo
April 2014

Installation shot
Michael Riedel, Dual Air [Dürer]
Palais de Tokyo, April 2014
Photo by Aurélien Mole.
© Absolut.

Jacques Comité [Giacometti]
An Absolut art bar installation by Michael Riedel
Le Point Perché, Palais de Tokyo
July 2013

Installation shot
Michael Riedel, Jacques Comité [Giacometti]
Palais de Tokyo, July 2013.
Photo by Aurélien Mole.v© Absolut.

Text: Hili Perlson Photo: Aurélien Mole