24/11/2019 — 16/02/2020
ˈzɛlpstbəˈʃʁaɪ̯bʊŋ is the german word self-description, written in phonetic symbols, a functional language used to denote sounds. The exhibition in the central atrium brings together pictorial artworks that are typical of Riedel and that serve as base material for a 22-part sound installation in which the images themselves start to speak.
The need to comment on art has been Riedel’s seemingly inexhaustible source of text material since the mid-1990s, which he has used systematically to develop his pictorial language. From the paper bag, emblazoned with his name, that allows him as the artist to retreat behind this self-description and the numerous audio recordings documenting his life as an artist, rendering it legible in the form of equally voluminous transcriptions, through to the slew of prefabricated, descriptive material generated by the spiralling societal need for self-expression on the world wide web, it is always the self-description applied by the art system that Riedel draws on in his creative work, communicating it as a recurring feature and the factor occasioning his art. The question of whether it is art or merely the description of non-existent art remains unanswered. What is without doubt is that over the last twenty years, the Riedel autonomy has impressively succeeded in the artistic presentation of production mechanisms that have gradually took on a life of their own.
A characteristic feature in this context is Riedel’s poster production that begins with the announcement of an art event that ultimately proves infeasible. The poster itself becomes the event, requiring even more posters to advertise its happening. The layouts of the posters process text materials that record, replay and hence further Riedel’s career in the art business. Simple commands included in an image processing program are used to alter the texts to the limit of legibility by introducing different directions of writing, duplicating letters, enlarging characters across several sentences or by placing them in alphabetical order and then printing them. Grouped as expanses of posters, the individual ones lose themselves in the ornamental meshwork, creating a shape that is comprised of shapes and, at all times embracing the principle of possible connectivity, transforms the boundaries of each shape into multifaceted transitions.
Riedel’s previous museum exhibitions have shown how his works have, by applying a variety of compositional strategies, started to write their own story. Kunste zur Text(instead of Texte zur Kunst), CV (Curriculum Vitae) and Grafic Art as Event (the Signetic Drawing) multiplied the embodied, self-referential information, allowing it to grow into an artistic mass. Now, at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig, the pictures will begin to talk and to describe the self-description: sɛlfdɪˈskrɪpʃən. The voices emanating from loudspeakers recite the exhibited layouts as spoken words. The musician and composer Oliver Augst used the collection of sound files produced by Riedel in recent years using a number of reader programs to create an eight-hour soundtrack as an acoustic rendition of the rhythm portrayed in the visual patterns.
The evolution turns full circle. No longer does the layout of the pictorial expanses, as an artistic event, store the soundscapes of art as the operating system. Instead it creates the noise of discourse, which itself can be used for new works series’. Art as a social system (Kunst der Gesellschaft), which has dedicated itself to self-description.
For the exhibition catalogue, visit the website https://mdbk.de/ausstellungen/michael-riedel/katalog
Funded by: Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen