dusseldorf

View of “FORT,” 2015. From left: About Blank (Billboard), 2015; One in a Million, 2015. Photo: Achim Kukulies.

FORT

Sies + Höke

View of “FORT,” 2015. From left: About Blank (Billboard), 2015; One in a Million, 2015. Photo: Achim Kukulies.

Although it is often rendered in English as “uncanny,” the nuances of the German word unheimlich are famously difficult to translate. The negative prefix un- modifies heimlich, which derives from Heim, home, and originally means “familiar.” Unheimlich, then, is what is unfamiliar, strange, and, by extension, vaguely menacing. And the objects, installations, and performances of FORT, an artists’ group founded in 2008 by Alberta Niemann, Jenny Kropp, and Anna Jandt, who left in 2013, are certainly strange. Unheimlich also aptly describes the objects in their recent exhibition “About Blank.”

Even an object as perfectly ordinary as the broom leaning against the wall near the entrance to the gallery seemed faintly disquieting. Is it at home here, one wondered? No label on the wall identified it as a piece of art, and it did not appear on the list of works on display. A small pile of

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