Tobias Rehberger

Tobias Rehberger or Friends do not always have to suit each otherWhile the spatial concept for the premiere of The Design Annual - inside: urban directly transposed the event's theme into architecture, as it were, for ‘private identity' in 2007, an open grid was created which linked exhibitors, special exhibitions and reflection in a continuum. With The Design Annual - inside: showtime, a somewhat expressive theme has been chosen for 2008 which has many aspects to it and entails any number of inherent contradictions. This is why we need to find a formal correlation.It is art which reflects and comments in a friendly tone on the great show of things on a "higher level." We have succeeded in persuading Tobias Rehberger to design the exhibition architecture for inside: showtime, who, together with his colleague Claus Richter, will develop a diverse and multi-functional environment on the first tier of the Festhalle. Here tension will build, here sensational things will take place, here the unpredictable will happen.There are very few artists in the world who dare to venture into the zone between art and design at all. This may be because, among other reasons, design is very dangerous territory in the eyes of art. Thus in the art business it is still thought that those who cross over to design, die there. Here commerce allegedly rules, here decoration dominates and the production conditions and methods in art and design are fundamentally different anyway. Tobias Rehberger is taking the risk. Two things play a role in his work. He frequently includes people and their viewpoints in his work, whereby idea, conditions, development and result become an interplay between the artist and his audience. One side provides the stimulus, the other continues it. Rehberger consciously takes risks, indeed, he even banks on them, so that he can create something unpredictable. It is even more astounding the amount of tongue-in-cheek matter-of-factness with which Rehberger responds artistically to furniture classics and spatial staging, functionality and surface effect. Whether he builds a tree house out of colored glass and aluminum or has lamps displayed in halls like masses of people, whether he assembles things like a group of friends or uses colored tables, seating and lighting to create an original showroom - it always looks as though it is about design. Whatever Rehberger approaches has the appropriate touch. It looks like something which in the end, it is not at all. Rehberger is a virtuoso of the ‘as though', someone who does magic with things he suddenly knows how to turn, whereupon they assume new meaning. Thus he draws 20th century design classics from memory which he then has made by craftsmen in Cameroon, whereby he sounds out the distance between design and realization. Or he has female friends design a bed specially for themselves and then actually builds from the rough sketches different beds which portray him. And for the first anniversary of his gallery in Berlin, he is making a vase for each of his colleagues who have exhibited there in the first year; and each of them is sending another bunch of flowers for his vase. Rehberger copies and reconstructs, he borrows concepts and delegates their development, he translates from one medium into other media, changes the dimensions and reflects the possibilities of production. He employs observations of architecture and design which look as though they were nothing more than architecture and design. He recycles the design of the 1960s and 1970s and in so doing, dismantles the formalism of the Modern Age cleverly and communicatively and gives it a surprising practical value. He plays with ideas and with furniture, with desires and models and playfully evades the artist's inclination towards originality and heroic creativity. As varied as his interventions and the spin he gives objects are, Rehberger has a firm affinity for installations and a special feel for the space and its qualities, both in sculptural and architectural terms. He is interested in the tension, sometimes also the contradictions, which arise between the inside and outside, which he convincingly proved in 2007 with his installation "On Otto" for the Fondazione Prada.If everything in Rehberger's world is a question of design, then it is because he has mastered a method which not only requires courage, but also unshakable self-confidence, namely, that of reproducing. For those who reproduce steer past the thing by a hair's breadth into open space. Thus with his great talent for theatrics, he makes the decorative elements shine like a light. All is pretty - fresh, colorful, dreamy. Yet there is also always something sinister. As on the stage or in a haunted house. Giving showtime a face, that is a job destined for Tobias Rehberger.........................................................................................................................................................................

Claus Richter

Claus Richter: Dreams are my reality Claus Richter plays with the barriers between the worlds. His works are excursions into adventure land, on which he probes the power and borders of the human imagination. He calls himself Sherlock, perhaps because he examines the world under a magnifying glass like a detective and in so doing, stumbles upon the most surprising things. He has a weakness for science fiction and theme parks. The latter especially enjoys his particular affection. The reason for this quickly becomes clear, for it is typical of Richter's art: Here, reality is very deliberately faded out and the show begins. It is the tense waiting for the moment when the illusion takes over, the illusion which disperses reality and provides space for dreams. All the while, Claus Richter repeatedly slips into other roles. In his video "Fantasy" he walks through a magic door as a sorcerer and is transported into a dull reality, heading directly towards two bored skateboarders. He takes them away to a world of fantasy and illusion. Both walk through the magic door and suddenly become characters from fairy tales. Richter himself appears as MC with glittering rabbit's ears and a walking stick with a silver knob, singing of course, and takes the young people back to where they came from. However, both have changed; they have been animated with the power of imagination. Richter's works are full of arrogance and wit, however, sometimes he also takes the reverse of the spectacle as his theme. For the Fine Art Fair in Frankfurt, in 2007 Richter erected scenery of a small town, while you could still see behind the set. As two people who remind you of English cricket players from the 1920s dance in front of the building façades, Richter himself stands behind the façade and prepares to shoot himself in the head. Thus the show has two sides. Richter explores the world like a curious child who can get excited about a thousand things at once, be it dancing toy mice, crazy TV performances by Pee Wee Herman, UFOs or pirate festivals. Whether real or not, he makes these things a part of his reality. And creates from them the inspiration for his installations, videos and performances: Claus in Wonderland - right to the borders.