“Gallery Show.” More derisory than tautological, the title suggests the existence of a “style” or manner of conceiving and staging exhibitions on the basis of the theatricality peculiar to the gallery situation. The static arrangement of objects in a scene that is often too careless, or accepted on positive as-sumptions, relies on a belief and trust that what an artist shows converges with what a viewer sees. In contrast to this model, Ana Linnemann presents here a group of objects that reveal something that is generally so obvious that it remains hidden.
The gallery thus becomes a space for another kind of investigation and an exceptional complicity:
between the artist and the silent but plastically eloquent disobedience of tacks and frames, panels and canvases. Constrained by a lifelong habit of good manners and accommodating function and form,
these ordinary objects, once disfigured, become protagonists.
Ana Linnemann does not reflect on objects; she thinks with them. The object itself, in its apparently immutable concreteness, reveals itself here to be a dynamic device that raises questions the answers to which are new questions talking to one another. What do we show when we exhibit? Isn’t the artist a kind of Sisyphus, stubborn in his or her infinite repetition of a tragically ineffective gesture? Or a kind of clown whose heroism lies in exposing his or her own impotence? Is it an object? Is it a mutant object? Is it the turbulence of the species that drags the species along with it or the aberration that ushers in a new strain? A frame that no longer frames may also belong to the category of objects circumscribed by this name, this insurrection affecting their ontology, taking them into the living world of the human animal, into the dissatisfaction of the species. One cannot help noticing that these pieces communica-te with the spirit of anthropomorphic rebellion found in the cartoons of the 1930s, where pianos, harps and milk bottles grew arms and played themselves amidst raindrops and dancing frogs.
If money could talk, economic history would certainly have been different. If the history of abandoning the frame had been narrated from the point of view of the tack and the frame, the history of contempo-rary art would have taken a different course. Painting, a thousand and one times liberated, pronounced dead and then resurrected, has stifled the condition of the frame, discarded and rehabilitated, without its ever having achieved glorious liberation.
By taking the side of things, the artist offers an exercise in perspective and, in so doing, avoids both the path of materialist utopia and that of dream-like surrealism. Nothing here is situated in a revolutionary realm of dreams; these are infra-real objects that provoke mirth from forms liable to change species, lose or shed their anatomy. It is impossible to tell whether this laughter is an ill omen or a symptom of relief, but it is definitely a sign of the turmoil created in the identity logic that conventionally posits the object accommodating function and form.
The sardonic insurrection of this group of objects seems to achieve much more than a displacement; it disarms our inherited belief in the existence of an ontological difference between the objet d’art and ‘other’ objects — be they familiar or extraordinary. This makes it possible to address the (decorative or aesthetic) functionality of “gallery” art, throwing it against the backdrop of a broader and more insi-dious logic of production, which never ceases to negotiate the distance between the apparent passivity of artworks and the supposedly active life of the eye.