Abenteurer

While pulling her chewing gum Chris Reinecke comments on a discussion about the meaning of theater, 1969. Photo: Jörg Boström

While pulling her chewing gum Chris Reinecke comments on a discussion about the meaning of theater, 1969. Photo: Jörg Boström

Mappa Mundi, drawings in mutable hanging, 2000-2008

Mappa Mundi, drawings in mutable hanging, 2000-2008

Mappa Mundi detail, 2000-2008

Mappa Mundi detail, 2000-2008

3 Layers, 1965 (Frontpage)

3 Layers, 1965 (Frontpage)

3 Layers, 1965 (Backpage)

3 Layers, 1965 (Backpage)

me showing works, 1970

me showing works, 1970

paper object, 1980

paper object, 1980

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

exhibition view JET

Chris Reinecke

Art is Necessary, 1959 - present

May 31 – July 5, 2008

 

With the first retrospective of Düsseldorf artist Chris Reinecke, collecting works from 1955 to the present, JET continues its 2008 exhibition series. This series presents artists whose lifestyles, whether self-selected or forced upon them, determine their artistic practice.

 

Over the 72 years of her life, Chris Reinecke has passed through various phases of artistic production. Each phase has entailed new forms of expression, sometimes intimately bound up with sociopolitical activism. At the same time, though, the individual phases are also linked by an internal logic that can be traced independently of social developments.

The purpose of this exhibition is to place the various phases of Reinecke’s career side by side and on an equal footing, thus highlighting an original and distinctive artistic position that has heretofore gone largely unnoticed.

 

Mutable, nonhierarchical, nonlinear, focused on communication—Reinecke’s artistic production since 1959 can be summed up in this (undoubtedly simplified) way.

 

During the years 1959–65, Reinecke created wonderfully ephemeral drawings in which she portrayed people, objects and their surroundings. The emphasis is on the relationships of those portrayed to each other and to their surroundings—not to define standpoints, but to investigate the possibilities of the connections. As early as 1955, she made a portrait of her sister, depicting her in a way that was on one hand precise and typical, on the other distant and unapproachable. The motif of enabling multiple perspectives at the same time runs through all the phases of her career—not as “anything goes,” however, but as the presentation of an individualized perception. Soon she was translating her drawings from the two-dimensional plane to space. A pivotal work in this evolution is the Entfernungsstab (Distance Stick) of 1965, which she used to reorient herself in space.

 

Reinecke’s collaborative activities with Jörg Immendorf in the Lidl group between 1968 and 1970 were and are a reflection of the student movement. For a long time, her dominant position in Lidl remained invisible to recipients, and only much later, thanks to the initiative of Dr. Susanne Rennert, was it made known to the art-viewing public. Barbara John, who co-edited a book on Reinecke’s Lidl period together with Susanne Rennert and Stephan von Wiese, described in it how “up to now, our retrospective view of the upheavals of 1968 has been shaped by male artists. Yet Reinecke’s conceptual approach to redefining the relationship between art and the public is one of the earliest of the characteristic examples being developed for this purpose in Germany in the ’60s and early ’70s.”1

 

The ephemeral, which is part of all of Reinecke’s works, is also characteristic of her practice after 1970. In an exemplary way, she demonstrated the dissolution of art. She worked primarily with ephemeral materials, and there was a fluid transition between her artistic practice and political activism. Thus, the materiality of art is now embodied by a thin blue thread, for example. A drawing from this period shows the silhouette of a man whose nose and penis are connected by blue thread.

 

In the mid-’80s, Reinecke began once again to make her position more material, creating drawings, photos, texts and light sculptures. The large-format drawings on display at JET, which consist of a variable number of layers created over many years, may be viewed from in front, behind, above and below.

 

 

1 Barbara John, in Chris Reinecke. 60er Jahre – Lidl-Zeit (Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 1999).