Critics’ Picks

Linda Bilda and Ariane Müller, Zu Zweit nach Vorn (Getting Ahead Together), 1995, VHS video transfered to DVD, color, sound, 23 minutes 44 seconds.

Linda Bilda and Ariane Müller, Zu Zweit nach Vorn (Getting Ahead Together), 1995, VHS video transfered to DVD, color, sound, 23 minutes 44 seconds.

Berlin

“Artfan”

Oracle
Joachimsthaler Straße 14
April 11–May 10, 2015

From 1991 to ’95 in Vienna, the artists Linda Bilda and Ariane Müller published the zine Artfan for thirteen xeroxed and stapled issues, each in an edition of eight hundred. Their intention was to give artists a voice, including in long-form interviews with the likes of Jutta Koether, Martin Kippenberger, Andrea Fraser, and Fareed Armaly, who were all based around Cologne and New York at that time. The seemingly unedited dialogues were also accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations, photo stories, and reviews.

Situated in an unfurnished apartment, this exhibition gives a retrospective and somewhat nostalgic insight into the making of Artfan. Mainly displayed on dark panels or simple frames mounted on walls are master plans for the layouts, original texts and pictures, covers, a draft of the logo, as well as documenting photos, letters—including one addressed to Isabelle Graw from Texte zur Kunst—and other testimonials to their enterprise’s communication and promotion. The show also includes two videos, the subtle commercial Artfan Production, 1991, which documents, in the style of an educational film, the manufacturing of the magazine, and Zu Zweit nach Vorn (Getting Ahead Together), 1995, which was recorded at the bookstore and publishing house b_books in Berlin. The latter shows a slapstick performance by Bilda and Müller discussing their collaboration on the zine that ends with a cake fight, hinting at the challenging responsibility for such an ambitious project and its effects on handling personal interests and relationships before the Internet, desktop publishing, and network capitalism started to set new standards. Seen from today, it’s not a surprise that the issues of Artfan went on to become valuable collectors’ items.