Stefan Burger – Under the Circumstances
We have a penchant for cladding, disguising, draping, varnishing and covering up – the crooked wall, the aging face, the leaking oil rig, the dented bodywork. We have a penchant for fixing the world around us to hide the way it came about, the way it evolved or the way it works, so that it can just sit before us to be appreciated and admired like a perfect, glistening box. Actions disappear in the outcome, cracks, defects and mistakes are concealed, spaces edited out. We like the outcome, the performance, the action, the event and the glamour – and we get rid of what’s in between, what’s absent, dull, the anticlimax, we wipe away everything we don’t want, tossing it into the real or virtual trashcan.
Stefan Burger is well aware of this display of perfection and presence (especially in photography with its ever so homogeneous surfaces, its brilliant appearance and its mass medial dissemination) and he scratches the surface, walking into the rear courtyard and coming across chaotic construction. He has a way of removing all the camouflage to reveal what lies underneath, things half finished, stuttering processes, the before and the after, the abandoned and the empty. It is not the blossoming flower pot that interests him but the empty planter, not the latest fall fashions but the sales, not the great performance but the abandoned stage after the lights have gone down. He exposes mechanisms: mechanisms of perception, production and operation. He also looks at the modus operandi of making art, producing pictures, and showing and exhibiting works.
The exhibition was curated by Urs Stahel.
Main sponsors: George Foundation, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture and Hulda and Gustav Zumsteg Foundation