Critics’ Picks

The Nuclear Football, 2004.



Städtische Galerie Nordhorn
Vechteaue 2 Nordhorn
March 6–April 18

Korpys/Löffler have appeared mostly in large, themed group shows. You might recognize the duo’s work from “German Open” (Wolfsburg, 1999), “Ökonomien der Zeit” (Economies of Time; Cologne, Berlin, Zürich, 2002) or “Art & Economy” (Hamburg, 2002). Now, the Städtische Galerie Nordhorn has given them a retrospective, providing viewers with a comprehensive look at their drawings, installations, photographs, and videos, which combine elements of documentary and fiction. The artists focus mostly on issues of “security” and its sociopolitical ramifications, illuminating unseen systems of surveillance and control, often from marginalized perspectives. For instance, their new forty-minute video The Nuclear Football, 2004, narrates George W. Bush’s recent visit to Berlin from a journalistic underling’s point of view. As members of the official press team, the artists recorded the dry runs, idle waiting, and secret-service preparations at the airport and the presidential palace. Ignoring pageantry and pomp, they instead reveal what is usually hidden. One element that remains beyond the reach of their cameras is the “nuclear football”—the legendary black suitcase that is always in close proximity to heads of state and that, because of the video’s title, remains uneasily ever-present in the viewer’s mind.

Translated from German by Emily Speers Mears.