PRINT January 1999

World Report

Andreas Slominski

Andreas Slominski is a fool. And a very good one. Much like his medieval predecessors, his privilege is to indulge himself in hilarious lampoonery, ribald tricks, and slyly idiotic stunts, all at the expense and behest of powerful patrons—in the contemporary case, the DEUTSCHE GUGGENHEIM BERLIN, where the artist has been commissioned for an exhibition opening February 20. The three-part show will include a colossal bird trap, baited and ready for prey, a stolen bicycle pump, and what the artist calls a cough syrup transport container. Of course, there is more to it all than just that.

I suspect that as a child the Hamburg-based artist could not but have been impressed by the Schildbürger fairy tales—stories of a fantasy village where everything uncomplicated is convoluted and even the smallest deed runs in reverse. Take the “cough syrup transport container,” which has just the right tang. Slominski is the kind of German artist who has a knack for taking on the really big subjects—in this case, antigravity. At the same time, one of his strengths is knowing his own limitations, and so he consulted with the Berlin scientist Prof. Dr. lng. Waldemar Stuehler to help him iron out the kinks in this special problem. With the scientist’s advice, Slominski is developing an antigravitational system of transport in which he will send a spoon, filled to overflowing with cough syrup, to the museum. There it will go on exhibit inside the box used to ship it. Mission accomplished, with no mess but much spilling of mischief in the process. Ahem. Like all fools who pursue their own innocence, Slominski never does anything the easy way, always opting for the elaborate, fanatically nonsensical path and never looking back.

Ronald Jones