In a courtyard next to a trailer:
E: A trailer as a container is my personal nightmare—similar to a tent. How does it work in winter? Their standardized dimensions don't necessarily adapt to the human body and its needs at all, but sometimes squeeze it into an idealistic geometric shape. Where were we?
R: Gravestones and refrigerators.
E: As a preserving container, the refrigerator probably epitomizes the fetish of modernity like no other. Of all the objects in the standard kitchen, the refrigerator is probably the most relationship-intensive device. On average, you open it about ten times a day. Michael Fried even attributed a "great presence" to this anthropomorphic figure of a box. The giraffes seem to go to the barricades against this anthropomorphic presence?
R: The idea was, as I said, a counter-reaction to Lyotard's "grand narratives," which should be understood on a humorous level. In the refrigerator there are more or less "natural" animal and plant products that have become commodities. But instead of using them immediately, we preserve them, keep house. This is also about the question of how to take care of one’s "own front garden": how to eat and with what things to fill their body, but also in terms of fundamental moral-ethical issues.
E: Art is almost removed from the pedestal here, although you also offer the giraffes a pedestal at the same time. That could be read as a satire on the pedestal itself?
R: That's right. On the one hand you have a pedestal, on the other hand it doesn't take itself so seriously. Also, I was thinking about how to elevate the giraffes a bit, because they're not that big. I wanted to transport them out of the real world, so that they visually achieve the size they actually are.
E: From a distance, it looks as if the giraffes are standing independently and loosely on the refrigerators. Again, appearances are deceiving. The giraffes are actually attached?
R: They are bolted to the refrigerator via the hooves. I only put them on one refrigerator in my studio, which was a precarious constellation. Especially outdoors, they have to be statically bombproof.
E: Perhaps also in order to avoid doing too much justice to the time-honored art-philosophical credo—“is this art or can it go away”?
R: When I thought of the sculpture, I also had "refrigerator art" in mind, as Thomas Rentmeister does, for example. Although for me the sculpture is not about continuing a Minimalist tradition, on the contrary. One sometimes reads it as a violent intrusion of everyday cultural "trash" into the exhibition space: as resistance against a certain auratization that often exists in the gallery space.
E: Yes. The refrigerator is obviously not new, but used and almost grid-like pasted with various postcards, all depicting Chinese Shar-Pei dogs (a so-called torture breed). In addition to its "inferiority," is there a certain emotional affect that has been stored in the object from its past owner?
R: The refrigerator is from a friend's aunt, which I had for years in the studio and also in use. But then the fuses tripped every now and then, so I finally threw it out. I found the larger red refrigerator on the street in the Berlin district of Neukölln.
E: The red fridge is slightly open and you can see a kind of skeleton structure. It reminds me a bit of Jindrich Polák's Ikarie XB 1, the interior of a spaceship…
R: Yes, the interior of the refrigerator looks futuristic, alienating and a bit terse. The frame looks like a rocket spaceport to me.
E: The refrigerator: after all, an unpredictable quasi-subject and "incarnation" of totalitarian modernist visions? I should have brought a fork for the cake.
R: Maybe ask the people in the trailer. Just say we're from Interzone.
Elisa goes to the trailer and gets a fork and sits down next to Raphaela again.
E: We're about to get pelted with rain here.
R: But it could move on. Look, the sky is getting brighter again…