Unknown Artist (1992-94)
Installation at Paris Bar, Berlin, 1993
Unknown Artist is a four part project that began in 1992 and was completed in 1994. The project began by collecting images from the photographic archive of famous art groups of the 20th century. The thesis of the work was that the history of twentieth century art was a social phenomenon produced not by individual artists but by groups of artists. I then identified a person in the picture which I did not know or was not known by the archivist researching and writing the caption of the photograph. I then hired a professional photographer to take my picture with the same facial expression as the person in the picture. I mimicked that person. These pictures were then incorporated in the original picture with photoshop. The images were outputted as black and white silver prints and framed.The second phase of the work was the installation at the Paris Bar in collaboration with the painter Martin Kippenberg and restaurant owner Michel Wertle. The framed prints were intercalated and dispersed in Kippenberg's famous installation of art works of friends hanging at the bar. It stayed there for three months. The final phase was the undoing and deinstallation of the Kippenberg collection and the photographing of the spaces left on the restaurant wall with the Unknown Artist work left hanging. Tabula rasa is a piece of plastic with 9 holes drilled into it. The holes mimic the teller windows of banks and passport control places, ostensibly designed to prevent the spread of germs and provide security. These were placed on small dining room tables shared by two people. At the Chelsea Hotel in Köln 20 people were invited to have dinner, 10 tables were set and a 5-course meal was served. At the termination of each course people were asked to write down on the tablecloth the most important thing that came up during their conversation. They were then asked to rotate to another table. At the end of the dinner, the white table clothes were covered by 10 written statements along the food and wine stains. They were exhibited the next day.