Art as political provocation?

Artist and entrepreneur Bernd Reiter installs provocative and media-critical works of art that are intended to stir up the viewer. On Sunday, January 27th, he will open the doors of his studio to anyone who wants to take a look behind the scenes of the much-discussed work "Irony of Fate".
Bernd Reiter, Ironie des Schicksals, 2018, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach Fotografie.
Bernd Reiter, Irony of Fate, 2016 / Height: 530 cm, Width: 810 cm, Length: 1550 cm, MiG,
Cadillac, Oldsmobile, TV screens, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach photography.

 

A Russian MiG fighter plane crashes into two American limousines. It's a powerful collision that Bernd Reiter has turned into reality. The viewer needs some time to walk around the accident scene with the big plane. The allusion to the Cold War becomes clear. Monitors are installed everywhere on the plane, the limousines and on an inflatable boat that can be found next to the vehicles involved in the collision. Documentary scenes of the Syrian war are being played on the monitors. 

Bernd Reiter, Ironie des Schicksals, 2018, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach Fotografie.
Bernd Reiter, Irony of Fate, 2016 / Height: 530 cm, Width: 810 cm, Length: 1550 cm, MiG,
Cadillac, Oldsmobile, TV screens, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach photography.

 

Reiter comments on the geopolitical situation as follows: "The American luxury cars and the Russian fighter plane point not only to the Cold War between the two superpowers, between East and West, between communism and democracy, which was long believed to be over, but also to real proxy wars such as the conflict in Syria, which is still disguised as a civil war and claims thousands and thousands of civilian victims every day. The so-called refugee crisis literally brings the wars and conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, but also the numerous human rights violations and starvation deaths in the Middle East and Africa, to one's doorstep. And, as you know, you have to put your own house in order - that's exactly what I do with my work as an artist. Irony of fate refers not only to the others, but also to ourselves - especially in Europe and especially in Germany, which had experienced its own mass migration and refugee crisis after the Second World War and which today stands as one of the most important political and economic powers in the world.”

Bernd Reiter sees his art as an appeal, protest or admonition. The powerful sensation that Reiter himself felt when he acquired the MiG led him into action. "For me, art is not a noble commodity or a cultural trophy, but an essential means to shape society, to awaken my fellow human beings, to inspire them to think and to act." The aim of Bernd Reiter's works is to make an understandable statement that illuminates the world in a way that is critical of consumption, society, and the system. 

Bernd Reiter, Ironie des Schicksals, 2018, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach Fotografie.
Bernd Reiter in front of his work Irony of Fate, 2016 / Height: 530 cm, Width: 810 cm, Length: 1550 cm,
MiG, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, TV screens, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach photography.

 

In connection with its political theme, however, Irony of Fate also demonstrates a reflection upon the media. The heavy use of monitors questions the consumption of news in our society, but it also forces us to look. It has always been the case that political themes emerge in art. In an age of social media bubbles and filters, statements like Bernd Reiter’s are important. "I am very interested in three-dimensionality in connection with media criticism. That's why computer monitors and, above all, televisions appear very frequently in my works, but they're not simply 'dead', instead they show videos which deal critically with political and historical issues. This makes the message of my works more transparent and understandable for everyone - and I think that's also my job as an artist."

Bernd Reiter didn't study art, but has always found access to it. His installations are often the focus of trade fairs and exhibitions of contemporary art. "More than 30 years ago I began to experiment with materials from the building industry. For my installations and large projects I combined materials that were left over at the construction site, - glass remains with metal, wood, concrete, also with my painting. From the very beginning, I wanted to design, shape, exaggerate the normal and charge it with meaning. In my heart, I have always been an architect and a creator of art, an entrepreneur and an artist". The inner drive to design is inherent in Bernd Reiter. His art is being, he emphasizes. 
 

Bernd Reiter, Ironie des Schicksals, 2018, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach Fotografie.
Bernd Reiter, Irony of Fate, 2016 / Height: 530 cm, Width: 810 cm, Length: 1550 cm, MiG,
Cadillac, Oldsmobile, TV screens, Silvia Kröger-Steinbach photography.

 

In addition to ART.FAIR in Cologne and art Karlsruhe, his works have already been exhibited with big names such as Liechtenstein, Haring, Hirst and Banksy. Now Bernd Reiter is offering his guests a rare look behind the scenes in his studio on January 27th. Join us there to discuss art and politics and make interesting new contacts.

start’19 - sculpt the world with us!

Kunsthalle Studio 4
An der Hasenkaule 10
50354 Hürth

Sonntag 27. Januar 2019 
ab 11.00 Uhr

Click here to register!

You’re not in Cologne or the surrounding area on Sunday, January 27th? start'19 offers you 75 different events in 21 countries. Find out what's happening near you and celebrate with us!

Zeit versetzt
Bernd Reiter, Time displaced, 2018, Installation, 210 X 460 x 82 cm, Manuel Thomé Photography.

 

Author: Christina Benesch

Christina Benesch works in the Munich sculpture network office and looks after the start'19 hosts after completing her master's degree in Doing Culture in the summer.



 
 
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