A 37 90 89: Beyond the Museum

1969.05.00 001 a pho house mgl 012


M HKA, Antwerp

01 June 2018 - 06 January 2019


Curator: Barbara Vanderlinden

In May 1969, a loosely connected group of artists and enthusiasts of the White Wide Space Gallery announced the creation of a new centre for art and communication in Antwerp. The German curator Kasper Koenig headed up A 37 90 89. “’A’ stands for ‘A’, ‘ABC’, anti-art, and-so-on,” he wrote in an announcement letter. “37 90 89 is the telephone number. The number will be answered round the clock.”

A 37 90 89 started with a champagne breakfast on July 21 1969 during the live broadcast of Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon. In the following six months, it brought together Western European and North American neo-avant-garde artists in Antwerp. Their artistic actions posed fundamental questions on art and its institutions in a social context. James Lee Byars, for example, realised a live-experiment on television, radio and telephone, collecting questions worldwide, Marcel Broodthaers installed his migrating Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, Addi Køpcke, Tomas Schmit, and Robin Page, replicated the bar Amadou in A 37 90 89 and Jörg Immendorff and his LIDL collective organized the LIDL Sports Week.

Although A 37 90 89 was only open for six months, almost 50 years later it still influences the discussions about the dilemma of museums, and their difficulties in embracing experimental principles. This archive-exhibition wants to detail A 37 90 89’s intentions and history and consists of three elements: a looping film which scrolls through all the historical documents, while male and female voiceovers read out excerpts from the archive; a photo exhibition by Maria Gilissen and a re-enactment of LIDL Sports Week by Josef Dabernig.

Aug. 24, 2018

Josef Dabernig (Austrian, born 1956)

Re-visioning LIDL Sports-week

In 1968, Jörg Immendorff and Chris Reinecke created the LIDL movement: its various departments — Lidl Academy, Lidl Space, Lidl Sport, LIDL Theatre, and so on — aimed to dispel the mystique of creation and have artists engage with society. In Antwerp, Immendorff and Reinecke organized a series of LIDL immersive sports activities: sports training, a football match, and a cycling race to Brussels.

The artist Josef Dabernig, for whom sport has long been a metaphor for artistic routine, has — with reference to soccer and cycling — defined two locations characteristic for his ongoing discourse with architecture. In these places, he gathered a select number of (not exclusively) art-connected people to practice the LIDL Sport re-enactments. The chosen locations are crucial, underlining the non-place quality as an anti-commercial and anti-representative statement, as such referring to the stated LIDL ideas concerning normal and democratic. Avoiding slapstick, all activities and interpretations of the LIDL activities took place in a natural context. Dabernig documented his LIDL Sports-week revision with photographic panoramas. The rigorous structure of the display in the vitrines 1, 2, and 3 explore the empty rectangular spaces as metaphor for desires and expectations. On the other hand, the vitrines 4 and 5 relate to the inhabiting of these spaces by the performers inspired by the historical events.

The artist stated during the event on August 24, 2018: “When I understand the LIDL sports activities as a sort of transgression in art with – let’s say – dadaist-, fluxus-, situationist references I would consider my performative attempts as a kind of extended sculptural vision, dealing with the magic of places, their geometric implications, with subjects in a way articulating these places, with the autonomy of these subjects in their paradoxical relationship towards the framing and with the affinity to photography and film of such sculptural motivated actions.”


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