BERLIN—The post-conceptually working artist duo REICHRICHTER, consisting of Rebekka Reich and Marcus Vila Richter, are the recipients of the 2016 Lewis Baltz Research Award. The Lewis Baltz Research Fund has been established in 2015 to honor the vision and memory of the American artist Lewis Baltz. The fund supports the creation, completion and dissemination of a project in any artistic medium, encompassing, but not limited to, anything from academic research to book publication, performance or installation art, video or film production to experimental digital work. The intention is to support projects reflecting the intellectual rigor of Lewis Baltz’s conceptual practice, which also succeeded in propounding a significant connection to social and political issues.
REICHRICHTER’s work is dedicated to extended fieldwork and close collaborations with inhabitants of various ›architectures‹. The grant enabled them to embark on a four-month stay in Southern California to pursue their installation project »Coming from Orange County«. The master-planned city of Irvine in Orange County can be seen as a laboratory for pioneering industrialized planning and real estate development. Its strategic mix of micro centers, residential, commercial and business areas makes it an early prototype of a post-suburban city. Urbanism calls this type of city a ›multi-nucleated metropolitan region‹. The artists did not go to California to document what is happening in another part of the world, »but to see with foreign eyes what is happening here at our doorstep in Willich«, they comment. What are the existential correlations between human beings and their built environment?
In the exhibition «Coming from Orange County», photographs, drawings, video works and objects form a synthesis of experimental composition, documentary and atmospheric narrative. Influenced by a notion of art derived from the Jena romantics, REICHRICHTER’s focus is not the singular work of art, but rather the overlaps and intersections of particular manifestations within the exhibition and their interrelation to the art space. REICHRICHTER’s most recent installation work focuses on advanced forms of commodified human dwellings. Through the window opening in a mockup wall made of black cardboard, a projector throws a head-high image onto a second mockup wall. A flagstone in front of it darkly reflects images of mirror glass facades. The two wall elements construct a rudimentary room. The camera depicts the illusionary glow of an artificially produced nature reflected by the glass facades, a »man-made Eden«. It produces soft images of hard spaces. Spaces doomed to renew themselves endlessly, without accumulating history. REICHRICHTER visited these so called ›non- places‹ and looked for the hardly noticeable counter forces, unleashed by everyday routines. As in their previous exhibition »Main Direction Parallel to the Horizon«, REICHRICHTER’s attention is directed towards the vertical vectors in a world which is increasingly dominated by horizontality or the ›flows‹ of the digital age. The non-commercialized relationship to the ground is regarded as a yardstick for human alienation.
The installation project is on view at Andreas Murkudis in Berlin through 21 April 2018.