NUMBER ONE: DESTROY, SHE SAID, JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION, Duesseldorf. 18 June 2007 – 2 August 2008

The JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION is a private collection of contemporary art focused on media and video art, installations and photography.

The collection has found a new home in the former production facilities of the Conzen frame factory. The building, which celebrates its centenary this year, was redeveloped from top to toe by the architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi to meet the particular requirements of the collection.

"The redistribution of space has created an entirely new building within the old shell: the higher roof and addition of skylights and a roof terrace combine to make a very clear statement. This more vertical organization supports the building's new function as a live-in art warehouse and exhibition space. A large opening connects the two main exhibition rooms and a delicate stairway leads up to the spacious attic floor and roof deck, 23 metres above the ground. The way up and down is the key to the whole design - a building that is less an object to look at than a path to follow. It leads through dark and light spaces, from the little cinema on the ground floor, on through two different exhibition storeys and up to the top floor with its 12-metre ceiling." (Wilfried Kuehn, Kuehn Malvezzi)

Its new home provides the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION with two exhibition floors open to the public. For the opening exhibition, entitled NUMBER ONE: DESTROY, SHE SAID, Julia Stoschek has assembled approximately 40 creative statements from international artists on the subjects of construction/deconstruction and interior/exterior.Some may recognise the title DESTROY, SHE SAID from the novel of the same name by Marguerite Duras (“Destruire, dit elle“). However, the exhibition's title actually owes more to the two-channel video installation “Destroy She Said“ by Monica Bonvicini from 1998, which examines the role of women in auteur films of the 1950s to 1970s in a compilation of selected excerpts. It is remarkable to see how, even at the very zenith of the feminist movement, women were still being stereotyped as helpless creatures.
The pieces on show centre on extreme spatial, psychological and interpersonal situations. The two exhibition floors are also subdivided according to different questions and themes, both to highlight individual aspects of the works and open up the exhibition as a whole to explore further issues.

An exhibition entitled DESTROY, SHE SAID is, of course, immediately associated with the theme of destruction, and indeed, this is an aspect reflected in much of the art shown. Examples of works that centre on the destruction of interiors and structures are “Shades of Destructors“ by Mark Leckey and “Hammering Out (an old argument)“ by Monica Bonvicini. In the piece “Burn“ by artist duo Reynold Reynolds & Patrick Jolley, the cosy hearth at home is the destructive element, creating an atmosphere that is at once frightening and absurd.

By contrast, Paul Pfeiffer's “Empire“ focuses on the subject of construction and the efficiency of hierarchical organisations wasps by documenting the laborious three-month process of wasps painstakingly building their nests.

Tony Oursler's three-channel installation near the entrance presents a dialogue between urban indoor and outdoor spaces so complex that conventional designations and rules of what is "inside" and what "outside" are completely thrown off balance.
There is something profoundly unsettling and disturbing surrounding the act of destruction in the pieces by Robert Boyd and Adam McEwen. In the four-channel video installation “Xanadu“, Boyd focuses on the self-destructive impulses that characterise our society by condensing different elements of mass culture like news bites, documentaries, comics and pop music videos into a sequence of split-second images. The brutal and random interfaces reflect the media world we live in, where the boundaries between entertainment, information and horror have been virtually erased. McEwen's “A-Line“ then proceeds to literally turn the world upside down by showing us the corpses of Benito Mussolini and Clara Petacci strung up outside a Milan petrol station for all the world to see.

The central work on the second floor is Doug Aitken's 3-channel installation “Interiors“. The seemingly incongruous stories of different people, which move the protagonists through various interiors and urban landscapes, are projected onto three translucent screens. The works of Anthony Burdin heighten this feeling of disorientation; the protagonist in his “Desert Mix“ leads spectators through a series of bizarre places.
Spatial demarcations and marginalisation are another central theme of the show, exemplified in Thomas Demand's “Fence“ and Taryn Simon's “Calvin Washington“. The work is from Simon's “The Innocents“, a series of photographs taken in 2002 of innocent people condemned to death at the scenes of their alleged crimes.

A number of works in the show are dedicated to the theme “Circular Moves“: Marina Abramović's “Relation in Movement“, “High Performance“ by Aaron Young, and Anthony McCall's “Line Describing a Cone“. McCall uses a 16mm film projector to direct light at a black surface; with the help of a smoke machine, the beam gradually becomes visible as a perfect cone of light. The space and the projection itself become a kind of sculpture that breaks down the traditional relationship between cinema viewers and the film projector.

A selection of works will be exhibited in the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev from September 2009. To the exhibition

An exhibition catalogue has been published by Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern. To the publication

Artist list

Marina Abramović/Ulay, Doug Aitken, Francis Alÿs, Heike Baranowsky, Dara Birnbaum, Monica Bonvicini, Robert Boyd, Lonnie van Brummelen, Anthony Burdin, Jeff Burton, Paul Chan, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Dara Friedman, Kate Gilmore, Douglas Gordon, Manuel Graf, Dan Graham, Jeppe Hein, Christian Jankowski, Joan Jonas, Mark Leckey, Klara Liden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Anthony McCall, Adam McEwen, Bruce Nauman, Tony Oursler, Paul Pfeiffer, Reynold Reynolds & Patrick Jolley, Pipilotti Rist, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Taryn Simon, Robert Smithson, Mathilde ter Heijne, Kon Trubkovich, Bill Viola, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Aaron Young.

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