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The Book of Burning Matches at ME Collectors Room

February 19, 2015

Who dominates the contemporary art scene today – curators or artists? There is a whole list of arguments telling us that in contemporary art the positions of curators and artists are equal. Many would argue that curators are also the artist. If we just focus on Berlin contemporary art scene, then we will be able to see the true power contemporary curators have today. They are the ones whose decision matters and who determine what piece of art is worth of showing, and what is passé. The contemporary art scene in Berlin probably played the crucial role in this equalization of these actors. The ME Collectors room in Berlin has exhibitions that prove these claims. The ME Collectors Room Berlin exhibition opening this month demonstrates the powerful position of contemporary curators.

Rob Kesseler - Archive (Detail), 1988
Rob Kesseler – Archive (Detail), 1988

The Curator’s Collection

Three decades long careers of the London-based curators Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley are truly amazing. They worked with some of the most recognized artists, and with renowned galleries. During their career, they collected large number of art documents. As many curators often wonder what to do with their huge archives with documents from previous projects, de Oliveira and Oxley began to think how these archives could be exhibited and represented, instead of throwing them away. They finally decided to exhibit the art documents, specifically the installation art documents, in one of the centers of the Berlin contemporary art scene. Two curators have very clear statement and concept that will probably influence many conceptual artists in the future.

Left: Archive (detail) / Right: Barnaby Hosking, Habitat Installation (detail), 2014
Left: Archive (detail) / Right: Barnaby Hosking, Habitat Installation (detail), 2014

The Book of Burning Matches

The ME Collectors Room Berlin exhibition named The Book of Burning Matches examines the importance of documentation in Installation Art. De Oliveira and Oxley decided to exhibit the collection of this type of documents that they assembled during their career. They are restaging the historical material giving propositions how that material from the past can be archived, displayed and chronicled. However, this is not simple reproduction of previous exhibitions. It is about rematerializing and reactivating the original works. Therefore, the purpose of showing the documentation is not to replace the original piece of art, rather to put it to the different social and time context, with the main aim to examine how the perception of the viewers is changeable. The ME Collectors Room exhibition will include the installation documents by artists such as Mischa Kuball, Phyllida Barlow, Andrea Büttner and Lucia Nogueira. The exhibition also features a number of newly made interventions by artists already present in the archive, including Hans Op de Beeck, Stefan Brüggemann, David Price, Barnaby Hosking and David Allen. This ME Collectors Room exhibition will be accompanied by a sound design of the American media curator Alejandro Ball.

Ben Cain - The Wrong Associations and Jeremy Millar - Untitled
Ben Cain – The Wrong Associations and Jeremy Millar – Untitled

Exhibition of Documents at the ME Collectors Room

The ME Collectors Room Berlin is one of the main hubs for exhibiting the innovative works in the vibrant Berlin contemporary art scene. The intriguing and interesting concepts by two famous curators – Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley – will be particularly stimulating for conceptual artists. The ME Collectors Room Berlin exhibition entitled The Book of Burning Matches will be on view in Berlin, from March 14th until May 24th.

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Archive (detail)
Archive (detail)
Hans Op de Beeck, Location 1, 1998-2002
Hans Op de Beeck, Location 1, 1998-2002

Featured Image: Barnaby Hosking – Habitat Installation, 2014

All images courtesy of the ME Collectors Room Berlin.

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