Between 1987 and 1993 Johannes Cladders worked on The Secret Corner for the Académie de Muséologie Évocatoire in Warelwast, Normandy.
For this project he was in close contact with Jacques Caumontand Jennifer Gough-Cooper, the Académie’s founders and guiding spirits. A few years after the dissolution of the Académie, the urgent question of what to do with its archive and collections had to be solved and it was Françoise Le Penven who encouraged Jacques Caumont to entrust the custody of The Secret Corner to Akademie Schloss Solitude, as its first jury-chairman had been Johannes Cladders.
But how might this secret project be kept alive in another place, in Solitude, without betraying its original purpose? »Making something public on the web?« asked Jacques Caumont during his first visit at Solitude, not fully aware of the scope of his question. The Secret Corner conceived by Jean-Baptiste Joly and Antoni Rayzhekov is the concrete answer to Jacques Caumont’s guess: A site with multiple entries and drawers that contain interviews – filmed by Hagen Betzwieser –, images of original documents, texts and objects, an online Secret Corner, that is – like the original –, only open to visitors when the winds are favorable. The physical Secret Corner is now hidden in a room of the Akademie under the custody of Anita Carey-Yard, archivist at Solitude.
Anita Carey-Yard is the librarian of Akademie Schloss Solitude since 2004. In charge of the archive and the libraries of Solitude she collects all kinds of different documentation of the fellows’ activities such as art work, books, and letters as well as video and audio works. In Schlosspost’s section Anitas’s Corner she presents some of the works.
Jennifer Gough-Cooper was brought up in England and studied at Hornsey College of Art in the 1960s. As an exhibition organizer, she was involved in the Marcel Duchamp retrospective which formed the inaugural show at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 1977.
Jennifer’s later extensive research of the artist culminated in the book Marcel Duchamp: Work and Life, published for the exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice in 1993. After an extended visit to Cape Town in 1998, Jennifer held her first exhibition of black and white photographs at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. These photographs, all taken within Kirstenbosch, formed the inaugural art exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
Jennifer Gough-Cooper, with the Scottish artist, Ian Hamilton Finlay, published Paths for an exhibition at Schoenthal in Switzerland. Her book Apropos Rodin inspired by the work of the French sculptor in its setting at the Musée Rodin, Paris, was published in 2006. Selected Rodin photographs have been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, London, the Musée Rodin, Paris, and the Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica.
Antoni Rayzhekov works as a theater director, media choreographer, and sound artist in Vienna/Austria. He studied theater directing and acting at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts in Sofia and jazz music improvisation at the Vienna Konservatorium.
In 2009 he co-founded the Viennese new media label THIS.PLAY. Since 2012 he is a lecturer of interactive media at the University for Applied Science St. Pölten, Austria.
He directed and composed music for the theater production KRAPP at the National Theater »Ivan Vazov«, Sofia, with Naum Shopov. He produced interactive audio visual installations such as Self_Assembling_Sym_Phony (2014) and Motherbox (2013), as well as the new media performance 10VE: participatory biofeedback and movement composition for two actuators and an audience (2014).
Recently he was artist in residence at ATALAIA Artes, Ourique/Portugal (2014), Schmiede, Hallein/Austria (2014), Choreographic Coding Lab, Frankfurt am Main/Germany (2013/2014), and DansMakers Amsterdam, Netherlands (2013).
Prof. Jean-Baptiste Joly
Born 1951 in Paris
Lives and works in Stuttgart since 1983
1969-1976: Studied German literature and language in Paris and Berlin.
1973-1983: German teacher near Paris
1983-1988: Director of the Institut Français de Stuttgart
Since 1.1.1989 Chairman of the board of the foundation Akademie Schloss Solitude, founding director and artistic director of the Akademie.
Honorary professor at the School of Art Weißensee, College of Design, Berlin.
Board member of various foundations, among others Merkur Stiftung and Rudolf Eberle Stiftung. Furthermore, Jean-Baptiste Joly is member of the board of trustees of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, member of the advisory board of Transcultural Exchange Boston, and member of the board of Res Artis.
Born at the foot of the Pyrenees contrary to what her surname indicates.
Thinking herself not admitted to Sciences Po 1 while she was, makes a 180-degree turn and
follows the path of Arts & Sciences of Art finally writing a Ph.D. about Marcel Duchamp.
Taught children and adolescents visual arts although having, until then, not at all showed a
special talent in the matter.
Applied herself to making intelligible literary and artistic archives at the Abbey of Ardennes
(IMEC) and continues this task with the archives of the Académie de Muséologie Evocatoire.
Her second novel, "Spiritual Intervention", is presented with a motif in front of the polyptych
of the Hospices de Beaune.
Her passions-obsessions: the pharmacopoeia and ancient remedies, the Latin decadence
according to the Sâr Péladan 2 , the precise fantasy of Quenian 3 writing, derivative products
and sainteries, dolmens and troglodyte habitat, writing as a trace, telluric and literary
geography, and so on. 1 Institut des Sciences Politiques, Paris 2 Joséphin Péladan (1858-1918) was a French novelist and adept of esoteric christianity 3 Referring to the style and the writings of the French novelist Raymond Queneau (1903-1976)
Having been responsible, during the prehistory of information technology, for conducting mechanographical studies with a view to installing IBM computers in various companies, he then produced cinematic magazines for Gaumont Actualités while collecting postcards making allegorical reference to paintings and, in 1970, founding a collection of artists’ relics. After engaging in discussions with the artists whose works he had installed at Happening & Fluxus and Documenta 5, he co-directed films with them for French television.
By virtue of his Norman “nationality”, he was entrusted in 1977 with the biographical input for the inaugural exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou devoted to Marcel Duchamp.
To preserve his links with the artistic and literary breeds and distil their “quintessential marrow”, he conceived the idea for an Académie de Muséologie Évocatoire which, by publishing the magazine Prosopopées, was active from 1977 to 1993.
Regent of the Collège de ’Pataphysique, he believes he can remember being a successor to Coco des Granges, parrot to the author of L’Afrique des Impressions.
He enjoys rummaging around antiques and playing dominos.
Above all he loves to play about with language, this being not so much a pastime as the driving force behind his research and his writing.
At Ver à Val (Warelwast), “outwith the realm of Yvetot” in the heart of the Pays de Caux, towards the end of the year 1977, was born the Académie de Muséologie Évocatoire, a literary and artistic association founded by Jacques Caumont and Jennifer Gough-Cooper.
This A.M.E took shape following the inaugural exhibition at the Centre d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, for which the founders, apart from formulating a Plan for writing a life of Marcel Duchamp, had a covered market built in the Norman style, a stage whereupon to illustrate, in twelve selected stations with captioned stained glass windows, the life of M.D. This was in a way the first manifestation of what evocatory museology essentially aspires to achieve, evoking crucial moments in an artist’s life by monumental means.
According to the articles of association, evocatory museology sought to explore any technique that might contribute towards evoking the arts of painting and sculpture and the lives of painters and sculptors, ancient and modern, together with their principal masterpieces. In practice, the aforementioned science pursued research into the history of art in the strict sense, not least by recording the existence of artistic facts of multifarious natures and distributing these around some twenty locutories. The fruits of research were set down in the journals Prosopopées and Rrosopopées, published by the A.M.E.
The principal focus for the work of the said Academy lay in its research into the life of Marcel Duchamp and in its efforts to reflect these findings in the form of ephemera, much like those to which the town of Fécamp has consigned its history.
The identification of sites where easels had been placed inspired a “comparative paysagisme” (Rrosopopées nos. 6-7, on the waterfall in Étant donné).
An inventory of films featuring the image or life of an artist was the driving force behind that “cinegraphic hagiography” which gave rise to the “Hollywoodian Album”, a section in Prosopopées.
The multiple representation of Millet’s Angélus, the preferred decoration for manufactured objects, within a locutory devoted to “multisubjectile transposition” was intended to illustrate how such use acted as a precursor for derived products (Prosopopées no. 9).
“Emblematic allegory” addressed attributes. The locutor here was Johannes Cladders. The application of this “science” induced the Professor to create medals evoking the A.M.E and its Actors, in the original sense of the term, which are now conserved in The Secret Corner, itself housed in a hidden recess at the headquarters of the Académie de Muséologie Évocatoire. Johannes Cladders planned, after completing TSC, to design a uniform for academicians of evocatory museology.
In addition to this micro-research, the A.M.E, bound by its ethos as an academy, functioned as a laboratory for a number of collaborations in Ver à Val itself.
Christian Boltanski brought or dispatched samples of his successive works, which were placed in the drawers of the library at the Académie de Muséologie Évocatoire, where the C.B. Mini-Museum gradually expanded.
For his Garden of Eden, Jean Le Gac took photographs of the garden at Ver à Val and created an homage to Maurice Leblanc in the form of a little enamel plaque to plant in the middle of a parterre of lupins.
In concert with Harald Szeemann and Markus Raetz, it was decided that the latter should design an anamorphous exterior in a double homage to Paul Delvaux and Marcel Duchamp. Wasistas de Warelwast was accordingly installed on the edge of the orchard at Ver à Val by Roland Tiercelin, who was working on The Secret Corner by Johannes Cladders during this same period.
As an extra-mural activity, within the framework of a locutory on “Lyrical adaptation” initiated to encourage composers and librettists, a performance of Danse Talouine was given in the Forest of Arques-la-Bataille in homage to Raymond Roussel. The author was Gavin Bryars, who composed the A.M.E anthem Sot ne rit de la Rrose (quoi?).
With his aid and thanks to a game of dominos, an opera for puppets was written and composed: Psittacus. The work remained unfinished because the page of the Very Rich Hours of the A.M.E was about to turn.
After graduating from Merz Akademie Stuttgart and working several years as art director, he received fellowships as artist, designer and filmmaker at Akademie Schloss Solitude; the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale; ACC Gallery, Weimar; The Arts Catalyst, London; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Halle 14, Leipzig; ACME Project Space, London and many more.
Since 1997 Stuttgart has been the base of his operations which focus more and more on outer space research and filmmaking. 1 Maurice Blanchot aus Thomas Kuhn: Die Struktur wissenschaftlicher Revolutionen, Frankfurt, 1962, S. 1002
Jean-Baptiste Joly, Institut für Allgemeine Theorie, Institute of General Theory, merz&solitude, 2007 S. 7
On October 18, 1988, during a sojourn at the Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts, Johannes Cladders raised a white flag on the exterior facade of an old, venerable building that stood at the former demarcation line separating east and west Jerusalem. Aside from a dry description of the object (dimensions and materials), he made no other commentary. As one would imagine, the intervention did not garner much understanding from the Israeli police, and the flag was promptly removed.
For the population there, as well as for us today, 21 years later in Western Europe, the meaning of this white flag cannot be reduced to its materiality. We project meaning – in this case a precise political meaning – onto this object. The considerations of Cladders as an artist move precisely in the space between the materiality of an object and its meaning for the recipient, and play with the arbitrary nature of the sign or symbol (l’arbitraire du signe) in connection to its meaning.
»Johannes Cladders’s artistic activities indeed required an author as a condition of their existence, but they forgo any kind of heroic gesture and do not place him, as an artist, in the foreground.« Jean-Baptiste Joly.
Even if he knew to clearly separate his activities as an artist and his work as a museum director, Cladders’s statements as an artist and his commentary on the art of his time reconcile in a wonderful way. When he speaks of »art’s demand for reality« or the »reality of art as definition of art« (Cladders’s concept of collecting, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Joly in spring 2002), or when he said in a speech on Robert Filliou and George Brecht that »it’s impossible to make a sharp division between art and life,« these statements could also be valid for his own artistic works. In the foreword of the catalogue for Sammlung Siegfried Cremer (Vol. II)1 — in which he is also incidentally represented as an artist, he writes: »It’s about sketches, quickly written notations and drafts, works on paper and multiples, invitation cards, relics from performative actions, souvenirs from encounters. Such things rather often lead us into the original debris and underbrush in which the source originates: The source from which the river of his oeuvre gets its water; and at the same time, the source that finally apostrophizes the river as art.« More precisely, Cladders’s works cannot be easily described! In this area, Cladders lifts the boundary between artist and art historian and refers in his commentary as much to the work in Sammlung Cremer in general as to his own work.
»Do not kid yourself. Artists are criminals,« Cladders told me just before the opening of Akademie Schloss Solitude. The relationship between artist and art historian could in fact be compared to that between criminal and detective. One of them breaks the rules and removes evidence, while the other tries to unearth clues. Cladders played both roles alternately, and tried to avoid all confusion, sometimes only by a hair, like for example in 1970, when he was responsible for taking on the Etzold Collection (in which he was represented as an artist) as a long-term loan for the museum he was directing in Mönchengladbach. Back then he led the city’s acquisitions commission through the collection, exhibited by the Kölnische Kunstverein, walked past his own works without comment, and – after the Etzold Collection became part of the museum’s collection – never exhibited them in his own institution.
»Do not kid yourself. Artists are criminals.« Cladders told me just before the opening of Akademie Schloss Solitude.« Jean-Baptiste Joly
In January 1995 I experienced how Cladders – alias Caesar – played both roles, that of criminal and detective, while installing his own exhibition in the Akademie Schloss Solitude. It’s as if he were in the same moment Minister D. in Edgar Allen Poe’s story The Purloined Letter, who »soiled and crumpled« the envelope to better “put it in one of the upper drawers of the card rack« and detective Auguste Dupin, who went »directly to the rack, took the letter, and replaced it with another, a kind of facsimile.« These are not only quotes from Poe’s The Purloined Letter, but also – as coincidence would have it – descriptions that refer exactly to objects in the Cladders exhibition at the Akademie Schloss Solitude.
In spring of 2008, Cladders approached me with the idea of introducing the »Day of the White Flag,« which the Akademie Schloss Solitude could communicate via its international network of artists. He was connected to this institution since its founding, as its first jury chairperson and as a jury member. Thus, 20 years after his intervention in Jerusalem, the Day of the White Flag was introduced using the slogan »Don’t forget October 18, the Day of the White Flag.«2 People around the world were encouraged to hang a white flag on their house or windows. »The white flag signals freedom. Whoever raises one on October 18 takes a stand on this issue,« Johannes Cladders
With this intervention Cladders liberates his art from the question of its authorship, which he leaves to the participants, as well as from the pressures of twentieth-century art to be »intentionally aimed at the museum,« (Cladders in his own catalogue Penone invita Cladders). We want to repeat this day every year. This is why I call you, ladies and gentlemen, to participate in the next Day of the White Flag, on October 18, this year and in the future.
A drawing from 1984 is pictured in the Sammlung Cremer catalogue; its title is Projekt. It shows a flag in the typical Cladders manner and a clearly recognizable environment – the German pavilion in Venice. Maybe we can install, on October 18, 25 years later, a white flag on the exterior facade of the German pavilion. Encourage your friends to participate in this intervention everywhere … because, as Cladders said: »The white flag signals freedom. Whoever raises one on October 18 takes a stand on this issue.«
(This text, with the original title »Vergiss den 18. Oktober nicht, den Tag der Weißen Fahne« comes from a lecture Jean-Baptiste Joly held under the auspices of the commemoration party for Dr. Johannes Cladders on May 17, 2009, in the Museum Abteiberg.)
1 Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund & Stiftung Sammlung Cremer im Westfälischen Landesmuseum, Münster 2http://www.akademie-solitude.de/en/news-press/news/white-flag-day-dont-forget-october-18-the-white-flag-day~no2782/
Die Highlights der Kunstgeschichte befinden sich bereits in den Sammlungen berühmter Museen älterer Kunst überall auf der Welt. Sie lassen sich auch mit noch soviel Geld nicht daraus herausholen.
Jedenfalls haben neu gegründete Museumssammlungen in kommunaler Trägerschaft nicht die geringste Chance, bedeutende Objekte älterer Kunst im Nachhinein erwerben zu können. In MG liefen die Marktpreise für Expressionisten Mitte der 60er Jahre dem jährlichen Ankaufsbudget von ca. 70.000 DM davon. Eine Erweiterung der nach dem Krieg begonnenen Expressionisten-Sammlung war unmöglich.
Im Sommer 1967 kam ich nach MG. Ich wollte aus der Not keine Tugend machen sondern steuerte bewußt eine Sammlung unmittelbarer Gegenwartskunst an. Und zwar internationalen Charakters.
Dahinter stand die Überzeugung, dass sich die Qualität von Kunst nicht an nationalen oder regionalen Kriterien bemißt. Wenn Kunst – auch davon war und bin ich überzeugt – nicht anders als Naturwissenschaften und Philosophie eine der Möglichkeiten ist, Welt zu erkennen und zu bewältigen, dann geht es mir um den Zugewinn eben solcher Erkenntnisse.
Kunst hat mit Wirklichkeit und ihrem Pendant Wahrheit zu tun. Sie visualisiert Realität. Sie gibt ein Bild von Welt, ist Welt-Bild und Welt-Anschauung. Diese wohl nicht zufällig dem Bereich der bildenden Kunst entnommenen Metaphern sind allerdings nicht im Sinne von Illustration sondern von Kreation zu verstehen. Insofern schafft Kunst Welt. (Das geschieht letztlich ja auch in Philosophie und Naturwissenschaften.)
Mir schwebte eine Sammlung vor, die diesen meinen Überzeugungen genügen sollte. Ich wollte und konnte nicht einfach alles sammeln, was zeitgenössisch produziert wurde, um auf diese Weise zu erreichen, dass mir dann auch das wirklich historische, d.h. für die Zukunft Relevante ins Netz gehen würde. Mein Konzept schloß das mit einer subversiven Selektion verbundene Risiko nicht aus. Doch stellte es in jedem Fall sicher, dass die Sammlung ein eindeutiges, klares Gesicht tragen würde.
Jede zeitgenössische Sammlung wird auf Dauer eine historische. Die Beschreibung „Museum moderner Kunst“ (MOMA) überholt sich zwangsläufig zu sich selbst. Nur durch Interpretation erhält sich Kunst aktuell. Sie ist wesentlich ein Phänomen der Deutung. Ich wollte eine Sammlung, die sich später einmal dazu eignen könnte, historische bzw. historisch gewordene Bestände permanent gegenwärtig zu erhalten, d.h. tauglich für die Interpretation einer fortschreitenden Gegenwart.
Mein Sammlungskonzept bezog sich auf möglichst eindeutige Belege für den Wirklichkeitsanspruch von Kunst. Er ist der gemeinsame Nenner der Kollektion. Ich fand solche Belege zunächst im Bereich der (nomen est omen) so genannten Nouveau Réalisme und auch der Pop Art der frühen 60er Jahre. Identität von Darstellung und Dargestelltem: Bewegung durch reale Bewegung (Tinguely und andere „Kinetiker“), Bewegung als Rezeptionsvorgang im Auge (Op Art), Gegenständlichkeit durch reale Gegenstände (Arman, Spoerri), Farbe als pure Farbe (Yves Klein und andere „Monochrome“) populäre, kommerzielle Bildwelten durch ihnen adäquate Techniken und Formen (Lichtenstein, Warhol), Menschen durch Abformung von Menschen (Segal).
Zunehmend entwickelten sich ab Ende der 60er Jahre Tendenzen, die die Wirklichkeit von Kunst als Definition von Kunst begreifen („Art defines Art“) und diese Wirklichkeit visualisieren. So bei Daniel Buren (Rahmentheorie) und auch in den Bemühungen, die als „Land Art“ und „Conceptional Art“ firmierten, sowie auch bei Künstlern, die sich begrenzter Einordnung sperren (Gerhard Richter, Marcel Broodthaers).
Auch Fortentwicklungen des Konstruktivismus, für den bezeichnenderweise die Bezeichnung „konkrete Kunst“ nun bevorzugt wurde, fügen sich dem Aspekt Wirklichkeit: Eine geometrische Form stellt eine geometrische Form dar und ist auch realiter eine geometrische Form. Arbeiten von Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd bis hin zu Carl Andre, Bruce Nauman und Palermo lassen sich so sehen. Auch Rückriem, bei dem der Entstehungsprozess als formale Eigenschaft in den Vordergrund rückt.
Die von mir hier aufgemachten „Schubladen“ sind natürlich nur unzulängliche Hilfsmittel, ein wenig Ordnung in ein komplexes Geschehen zu bringen. Sie werden den individuellen Antworten auf die Fragen nach Wirklichkeit in der Kunst nur bedingt gerecht. Durchgängig begegnen uns „Mischformen“. Etwa bei Richard Long, in der „Arte Povera“, insbesondere aber auch bei Beuys, der eine über die physische Realität hinausweisende
metaphysische Dimension von Kunst anpeilt, die ihr seit ihren Ursprüngen anhaftet (Schamane!): Erkennen und Bewältigen von Welt
durch Praktiken, die konkret-wissenschaftlicher Physik ebenso verpflichtet sind wie der ihr innewohnenden Magie.
Jeder Aufbruch in neue Aspekte gelangt an den zeitlichen Punkt erster, eindeutiger Formulierung. Mir lag daran, jeweils diesen Punkt in der Sammlung dokumentieren zu können. Ich suchte immer nach „Inkunabeln“, die den Wendepunkt möglichst frühzeitig markieren (z.B. „Man sitting at table“, die erste! Gipsabformung von Segal).