Martin Kippenberger: Bermuda Triangle
March 5 —
April 30, 2005
SYROS, PARIS BAR AND DAWSON CITY
I met him for the first time in 1978 at the “Exil” in Kreuzberg, Berlin: I was the bartender, he was the client. This legendary spot was then frequented by artists from every corner of the world ‑ Baselitz, Beuys, Lüppertz, Immendorf, Roth, Hamilton, Paolozzi, Hödicke, Koberling, Calzolari, Merz, Hansen, Broodthaers, to mention just a few. Unlike the Berlin clientele of the time, all dressed up as urban guerrillas, dude Martin already possessed the gift of first appearances, as well as the kind of rebellious, erotic aura that never goes out of style plus a good figure, plus charisma, plus a quick dry wit, and probably sweaty feet ‑ in other words, the kind of chutzpah that made me spontaneously buy a stranger a drink. We eyed each other for a while like wild animals, and each of us made his own decision not to go for the other’s throat. A friendship had begun.
– Michael Würthle
NEW YORK – NYEHAUS announces its inaugural curatorial project, The Bermuda Triangle: Syros, Paris Bar and Dawson City. Featuring work by Martin Kippenberger, the exhibition includes maquettes, architectural plans, portraits, and 40 drawings produced by the artist during the 1990s. This exhibition is the first in a series of NYEHAUS exhibitions devoted to expanding the discourse on select contemporary artists. Each exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication. The Bermuda Triangle: Syros, Paris Bar and Dawson City will be on view from March 5 – April 30.
Few who collided with Martin Kippenberger did not come away stunned by the exposure to his creative excesses. By everyone’s account, two of the key provocateurs of Kippenberger’s creativity were the owners of the legendary Paris Bar in Berlin, Michael Würthle and Reinald Nohal. During the 1990s, buoyed by Würthle and Nohlan’s “hospitality,” Kippenberger produced a diverse body of work detailing his existence at various points on the globe. Bermuda Triangle offers a chronicle of Kippenberger’s travels and travails in the company of Würthle and Nohal, the artist’s muses and patrons.
Würthle’s family owned a house on the Greek island of Syros, where Kippenberger went to convalesce and to make art. During the six years that Kippenberger spent summers there, Wurthle accumulated an incredibly personal, often hysterically funny and, always, devastatingly human group of drawings, notably encrusted with elaborate and ingenious word play and art historical references. Syros was also the site of Kippenberger’s first Metro Station (1993), an installation conceived and furiously erected on Wurthle’s property. This was the first of numerous ambitious projects conceived and realized on Syros, such as The Museum of Modern Art Syros (MOMAS), The Raft of the Medusa, and Spiderman in Matisse’s Studio.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Nohal had created the Dawson City Bunkhouse, a summer retreat in the Yukon near the Alaskan border, equipped with such local colorful establishments as the Snakepit Bar. Kippenberger created the second Metro station in Dawson City. With engineering expertise from Nohal and labor offered by a cadre of local friends, Kippenberger built this station in the remote setting, thus establishing a “network” of Metro stations, which eventually became known as the Metro-Net project. (Other metro stations were built later in Leipzig, Kassel, Munster, New York, and, posthumously, Los Angeles.) The project is presented here in the form of maquettes, architectural drawings, and photographs. The exhibition also includes a series of nine portraits of Kippenberger by Albrecht Fuchs, which capture the ridiculous Buster Keaton persona the artist created for himself.
A boxed, two-volume publication, including essays by Michael Würthle, David Nolan and Carol Eckman, accompanies the exhibition and is available for purchase through NYEHAUS. The package also includes a “guerilla marketing kit” of two posters and a bumper sticker.