Andreas Techler

Forum Bilker Strasse

Usually artists try to construct a border between the front of this gallery, which serves as a lending library of pictures, and the open, exhibition space in the rear. But no wall separated them in Andreas Techler’s exhibition, and the heating pipes, rusty racks, and other construction materials looked as if they might simply have been left behind in the space—if one had not been able to ascertain that they had been placed in a particular order. All of these objects were household objects; more precisely, they came from Techler’s apartment. Like a pirate the artist took parts from the house: the rack of 32 sinks, the shower pipes, radiators, and insulation. He used basic objects like lamps, shelves, and newspapers. Everything was dusty, rusty, old; it could even be considered garbage. Techler’s system is a new order of things that simultaneously maintains their disorder.

The title of the installation das Lehen (Lending) played on the lending library in the front of the gallery, but didn’t end there. All the objects in Techler’s installation were on loan. Cleaning them, for example, would be to take possession of them; even the floor had not been cleaned. Nothing was given a new function; nothing was given distance.

To give objects a function is to control them. Theodor Adorno calls this functionalism an instrumentalization of rationality. An order is created in which subjects determine objects. Definition, and as such distancing, hinders the possibility of experiencing things as Other. In this sense, Techler’s works are consistently irrational because his objects maintain their character as objects, and their isolation as individual objects, since lending is always temporary.

The sink cabinet created a visual boundary between the front and the back rooms, between the actual context and the contruction. But Techler brought both halves together by using shower pipes and a radiator as catalogue stands in the front room. In the concluding performance this cabinet functioned as the border of the stage. Techler juggled long pipes to the music of rain-on-asphalt. In front of him were nine red lights that were gradually destroyed by pipes he would drop. This performance was not actually part of the exhibition, but because the first pipes were not suitable, he slowly began to take the exhibition apart. Every object that was similar to a pipe was juggled, and after the last light was extinguished, the traces of the performance signalled the end of the exhibition.

Sabine B. Vogel

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.