The works of Jochen Gerz have always had a particular, deliberate relation to time, either in the thematization of perception and description as a continuous process, which can only be undertaken in time (as in the four books of “ Zeit der Beschreibung” (The time of description), created between 1973 and 1984) or in the rhythmization of action and experience, as was repeatedly evident in his performances, or in the creation of uncertainties which constantly created new confusion for the situation of the protagonist in his experiments with memory work. ...As it becomes evident, timelessness is created in Gerz’ s works in various ways, but always from the relation to time. Dialectically related with this is the recognition in his work that contrary to the timelessness of the here and now the consciousness of the link of the artistic work with time is created from the perception that timelessness has no duration.Ulrich Krempel 1988
The concept for the space derives from a Hindu temple or a place of meditation. The contemplative atmosphere contrasts strongly with material from a recent and still controversial past, which at the same time is reflected in much of the invisible archive collections of the Art Academy ...For him the archive is an expression of Vanitas, a "house of assertions", a labyrinth where an opaque void prevails. ... Jochen Gerz succeeds in dispersing the seemingly impenetrable wall of paper by oralisations of the archive. ... Chronologically sorted texts from all sections of the Archive are returned to life by being read out loud in what is a kin to a litany without beginning or end... Readers cannot intervene in the choice of documents or sequence of texts. Their contribution consists in reading as a service to lost time.Helen Adkins 2005
Public Authorship / Installation / Performance
Wooden table, 56 x 160 x 72 cm, desktop, 9 x 75 x 56 cm, wooden chair, 70 x 28 x 36 cm, sitting height 28 cm, floor: patchwork cloth (canvas on moulton), light installation
For Künstler.Archiv (Artist.archive), the inaugural exhibition at the new and historical Academy of the Arts at Pariser Platz in Berlin, Jochen Gerz invited the people of Berlin in newspaper ads, to contribute to the installation The Time of the GDR.
During the exhibition, participants read without interruption from an 800-page book collecting documents chosen from the archives of the GDR Academy of the Arts, each individual reading for two hours at a time, for a period of 80 days (640 hours). Whenever the last page was read, the reader started again at the beginning, as if reading from a book of hours. The anthology contained administrative documents, letters, diary entries, poetry and prose as well as speeches, propaganda, political appeals and media publications.
The readings included such items as letters by Bert Brecht, poems by Johannes R. Becher, notes from the classes of Gret Palucca, documents relating to the construction of Stalinallee in Berlin and congratulatory telegrams from the GDR central committee. An image of an era was evoked through its own language and documents. More than 350 readers took part in The Time of the GDR.
Akademie der Künste Berlin, Helen Adkins
Berlin, 19.6. – 28.8.2005
I: Berlin/Köln 2005
II: Fuhr 2005. Gauville 2005. Kaiserkern 2005. Kerneck 2005. Medicus 2005. Ruthe 2005. Schnippenkoetter 2005. Schröder 2005