– Autumn/Winter 2000


Julien Heyen

The process is easy to describe, actually the title says it all: Kauf/Verkauf von Gegendständen aus Haus Lange und Haus Esters (Buying and Selling Objects from Haus Lange and Haus Esters). On a particular occasion in a particular place a number of objects found in that place are put up for sale.

The artist arranges an exchange of goods for money; a mechanism is set in motion which could hardly be more trivial or more basic; a small segment of the dominant economy plays itself out. Dryly and succinctly the offer is outlined, the prices are named and the conditions are laid down. Objects and money change hands and the transactions are recorded in the books. A sequence of events comes to a predictable conclusion.

But not quite, for this banal procedure has a life of its own; what's more, this is just the beginning. This cameo of commercial life is completely real, and yet behind the neutrality of the exchange there is a different kind of transaction. The title which tells of buying and selling is not in itself the work; it merely outlines the concept that we are dealing with here, and which may be observed in this place and time. The fact is, that right from the outset this transaction is happening in conditions that draw particular attention to the extraneous circumstances. It is immediately obvious from the proposed sale and the intending vendor that this is an everyday procedure in an unusual place, which in turn raises unexpected questions about the meaning of both.

The process: on the occasion of the group exhibition 'Niemandsland' in Haus Lange and Haus Esters (1997) a