01 mei–17 juli 2005

Allegoric Postcard Union

Allegoric Postcard Union is a temporary alliance of artists Francis Alÿs, Július Koller, Roman Signer, and curator Binna Choi. In its current constellation, Allegoric Postcard Union is an interventionist contribution to the exhibition Collective Creativity on view at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel from 1 May till 17 July 2005, which investigates collaborative undertakings in contemporary art. Allegoric Postcard Union introduces subtle, unobtrusive manners of working together by means of producing a set of three postcards depicting images by the involved artists and other collaborators, through which they propose their interpretation of the notion of “we,” of “collectivity,” or “being together.”

The three participating artists belong to different generations and work within various cultural contexts. However, to a great extent they share common sensibilities and concerns in their artistic practice and working methods. It could be said that Alÿs, Koller, and Signer engage in creating situations of empowerment in their work, in which an individual could activate the possibilities of liberating him- or herself from a given socio-political formation in order to imagine another construction of collectivity embodied in preserving the singular in heterogenous coexistence. In Jean-Luc Nancy’s terms, this would establish the possibility of being “singular plural.”

The selected images are extracts of the artists’ performative works in collaboration, and as such function as an aesthetic and political abstraction of the moment. Each depicted scene is carefully directed by the respective artists and performed by a group of people in different political topographies: Alÿs’ in Lima, Peru of 2002; Koller’s in Cicmany, Slovakia (former Czechoslovakia) in 1978; and Signer’s in Kassel, Germany in 1987. Despite the fact that a lot could be deciphered about the actual political climate in which these performances took place, the selected images are situated in a natural landscape or on a background seemingly remote from the direct impact of the contexts by which they are informed. In this respect, Alÿs’ ephemerality and subtlety, Koller’s witty and minimalistic humor, and Signer’s abrupt absurdity might be perceived as effective “tools” for dialogue with the audience. They function as a poetic and political condensation of the moment, suggesting multiple associative narratives or “allegories” as an opportunity to deepen the imaginary (or real) potentials of the collectively shared experience and participation.

Allegoric Postcard Union is a temporary alliance and does not predetermine the duration of its existence. Yet the promise of its sustainability resides in the way that the members constantly find possible contexts and practical grounds to produce new postcards.

Binna Choi,
Member of Allegoric Postcard Union/Curator, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst


Francis Alÿs, When Faith Moves Mountains, 2002

Op 11 april 2002 heeft Francis Alÿs samen met Cuauhtémoc Medina en Rafael Ortega in Lima, Peru, 500 vrijwilligers gevraagd om met een schep in de hand één lange rij te vormen zodat een 500 meter lange duin 10 cm van zijn oorspronkelijke plek kon worden verplaatst.

Július Koller, Universal Futurological Question Mark (U.F.O.), 1978

Op 13 augustus 1978 in Ličmany, Slowakije, zaten Július Koller en ongeveer 30 kinderen samen in de vorm van een vraagteken op een met gras begroeide heuvel. *U.F.O. staat voor Universal-Cultural Futurological Operations. Foto: Kveta Fulier-Ová.

Roman Signer, Action for Orangerie, 1987

Op 20 september 1987 in Kassel, Duitsland (de laatste dag van Documenta 8), blies Roman Signer duizenden papiertjes de lucht in waardoor hij een ‘muur’ van witte regen creëerde. Honderden mensen die deelnamen en het publiek vormden, hebben eensgezind de ‘regen’ zien vallen. Film still: Peter Liechti.

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