The work was exhibited at Culturgest in Lisbon, curated by Miguel Wandschneider, in February 2017 - among other works ( His Master´s Voice, 2015, and The Greatest Happiness Principle Party, 2002). The issue of the work gathers personal and historical aspects which are leading to the so called „debt crisis“ in Portugal and the „PIGS“ States. It starts with the construction of the Agenda 2010 (inaugurated at the Lisbon Council 2000) which led to the German financial hegemony and its austerity dictat 10 years later. Therefore, I would like to show the work not only in Lisbon but also in the other „PIGS“ states. This discriminating term was invented by the rating agencies for the indebted countries Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain in 2011. I would like to show and modify the work in the special local contexts as well as to cooperate with other artists who are working about the same issue. This issue of indebtness and debt economy might be now pushed to the news of yesterday but is dominating seriously the daily life of many people. I believe also that artistic work has certain difficulties to react immediatly to political actuality. It needs time to „digest“ and find its ways of reflection and clarity. The work connects personal memories and images with so called scientific facts of the „debt crisis“ and dismantles them as (what Bourdieu called in his critique to the German finance technocrat Thietmeyer) a „deliberate delirium“. The work has 3 parts. These parts are accompanied by brochures where the audience can read more about the background of the installation as facts, sources as well as in form of poems.
Solo Exhibition at Culturgest Lisbon, 2017
The first part starts with the Agenda 2000 approach, the personal memories of the de-regulation of social rights in Germany in the 2000s and the crisis in Argentina (the „mother-crisis“ to its followers 10 years later) which I personally witnessed. It shows 5 posters - enlarged fotos which I did in 2003 of the broken windows of the office of the Socialdemocratic Party in Berlin. The windows broke during the protest against the so called „Hartz“ laws.
Mixed media installation [consisting of 5 posters, textile, collages on paper, collages on textile, drawings, reels, metal paper weights, table], dimensions variable
The posters are weaved with white ribbons which will leave to the ceiling of the exhibition space and to reels with texts. The reels can be used by the audience to read texts. The reels are also some kind of archaic analog element of saving memory / language. *
* Texts of the spools in Chapter 1 brochure: Bourdieu, Warning against the modell Thietmeyer, 1996; RAF, Manifest of the attack to Thietmeyer, 1985Alice Creischer / Andreas Siekmann, Correpondence with Colectivo Situaciones, Buenos Aires, 2004; Peter Hartz, The Job Revolution, 2002; Creischer / Siekmann, Letters from Argentine, 2003
Some of the posters have holes from the cut outs of the person who did the fotos and was mirrored in the broken windows (me). This person appears as a collage at the backside of the posters. There are other materials mounted too with the posters - like drawings of one of the demonstrations against the Hartz laws, 2004.
There are several objects associated to the first part - like a shroud (weared by merchants of the 16th century), a curtain with details of an ivory carving - related to the colonial history of trading in Portugal and the history of colonial art collecting in Germany. The issue of colonial trade as a foundation of indebted economy is one of the red lines of argumentation through the work.
Chapter 2 consists of 3 curtains of big cardboard circles - also hanging not on the wall, instead from the ceiling in the space and partly on the floor. The curtains are related to a special method of statistics from the Vienna Institute of Statistics of the 1930s dedicated to working class education. It was analysing the economy between the two wars. There is a proximity of the neo-mecantilistic economy to war economy - which is another continous association of the work.
The first curtain shows the rating of Moodys in March 2011 which initiated the entrance of Portugal at the Troika system as well created the shortcut PIGS for the indebted states. It shows the scores and ratings of the PIGS states - with a special accent on the cds swaps.
Mixed media installation [consisting of cardboard and textile curtains, collages on paper, collages on textile, metal, reel, video (found footage, Hamburg, 1917)], dimensions variable
The second curtain shows the development of the trade bilance for the „PIGS“ states together with Germany, 2000, 2003, 2010 which makes the German „Beggar thy neighbour policy“ obvious. On the blue „PLUS“ side there are paintings of pigs - phoning to Brussels or resuming about the theory of overproduction.
The third curtain shows the „suggestions“ of the Memorandum of Understaning of IMF and EU to cut the state expenditures in Portugal. The backside shows two examples of lying numbers - one the growth of the cross national income in Chile after the coup (which was decreasing rapidly after the first year). The other is the decrease of the number of unemployed persons in Portugal after the „cure“ - actually generated by the huge migration wave from 2011 - 2014.
Update of page 64, Elementary Image Statistics, Atlas Government Expenditures
Each circle: 100 million cuts.
dark red: health - 550 million
light red: pensions - 445 million
copper: state owned enterprises - 515 million
grey: education - 195 million
blue: unemployment insurance - 150 million
black: transfer capital to regional - 175 million
Chapter 3 shows a world upside down. On one side it will show - in the forms of plants - economic organisation principles as well as personal biografies, mentioned in the first two parts. But the roots of the plants will show anarchistic movements and experiments of the carnation revolution which took place in Portugal at 1974. And to see what no one wants to see.
The trees with their crowns upside down. The cattle with its legs in the sky. And to see why people stare at us with open mouthsand not to know why you are staringand why you aren’t amazed at your own beauty.
The last revolution in Europe is triggered by the liberation struggles in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea Bissau. The military—exhausted by its own massacres—is the revolutionary protagonist. It degrades the Diadochs of the dead dictator.The radical wing, the COPCON, briefly protects the self-government of the people against the power hunger of the new political parties.This revolution was very familiar in Europe. It can be seen on photos depicting VW busses on the beach and smoking teenagers in old cafés. People drive there on vacation.This revolution has been completely forgotten in Europe. Its decisions can no longer be conceived, they are now totally absurd: the employees nationalize their banks overnight, the peons occupy millions of hectares of land in two weeks, factories are run by the workers’ committees, people live in villas and hotels, where kitchens and playgrounds are installed, the rich clans are deported to their safe third countries after being expropriated.
The motif of the world upside down appears in the songs of 15th and 16th centuries and describes the collapse of the power until then. But it also transports the uprising of an always already known form of self-governance.
(texts from brochure Chapter 3)
Mixed media installation [consisting of textile, collages on paper, collages on textile, wood, metal, collage, plants, video (Ich Kann Nicht, 2017)], dimensions variable
Mixed media installation [consisting of wooden stand, record player with 2 speaker, 2 single vinyl records, wooden silhouette, collages on paper, collages on textile], dimensions variable
The Greatest Happiness Principle Party stages a fictional party thrown by the Austrian Credit Institute in 1931, a bank that was heavily involved in financial speculation in the Balkan region during that period. The party is thrown at a time when the Austrian Credit Institute is on the brink of bankruptcy, an event which will trigger the second major world economic recession. The scene presents an ensemble of figures whose talk includes discussion of Jeremy Bentham’s Fabric of Felicity a utilitarian theory of happiness. Behind them two cloakroom attendants instigate a militant investigation into the consequences of this bankruptcy, one of which is the impact it will have on European strategies of German capital and the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the expansion of the market economy model.
Mixed media installation [consisting of 7 life-sized wooden silhouettes, 1 textile banner, 9 drawings, some textile - clothed in various costumes], dimensions variable
Alice Creischer, born in Gerolstein in 1960, studied Philosophy, German literature and Visual Arts in Düsseldorf. As one of the key figures of German political art movements in the Nineties, Creischer contributed to a great amount of collective projects, publications, and exhibitions. Her artistic and theoretic agenda within institutional and economical critique has evolved over 20 years, more recently focusing on the early history of capitalism and globalization. As co-curator of such paradigmatic exhibitions like Messe 2ok (1995), ExArgentina (2004) and The Potosi Principle (2010), Creischer has developed a specific curatorial practice that correlates with her work as an artist and theorist, including her extensive practice in archive research. As author Creischer has contributed to many publications, magazines and fanzines.
- Candice Breitz
- Marco A. Castillo
- Alice Creischer
- Chto Delat
- Clegg & Guttmann
- Eugenio Dittborn
- Heinrich Dunst
- Estate of León Ferrari
- Estate of Barbara Hammer
- The Cabinet of Ramon Haze
- Hiwa K
- Renzo Martens
- Chris Martin
- Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger
- Henrike Naumann
- Oswald Oberhuber
- Mario Pfeifer
- Dierk Schmidt
- Tina Schulz
- Santiago Sierra
- Michael E. Smith
- Franz Erhard Walther
- Clemens von Wedemeyer
- Tobias Zielony