Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa
300 x 600 x 900 cm
Installation, oil on canvas, mixed techniques on paper, collected furniture and objects from the former GDR period, typed inventory on paper, performance
6th Summer Campus residency, Künstlerstadt Kalbe, DE
2018

A fictitious painter’s studio is created in a room in one of the old buildings in the small town of Kalbe (Saxony). Formerly used as an archive room during the German Democratic Republic, everything inside had remained intact, including the furniture.
At the beginning of the residency, the room was cleaned and repainted. Inhabitants of the town were invited to donate objects dating back to the German Democratic Republic period. Every day, old schoolteacher’s frames, coats of arms and postcards of the town, beer mugs, household items, identity cards and party membership cards, pioneer medals, newspapers and documents from the former Trabant car factory next door would arrive.
Four paintings are painted in the colour of the furnace built into the wall. Just like the room’s ceiling plaster is crumbling, each painting too has a defect: two horizontal or vertical support bars from the frame are missing, are not varnished, or are cut in half.
A painting by Gevorg Grigoryan, another resident, is hung above the furnace.
A map of the city and four mind maps that were made on spot are put under glass, in old mismatched frames.
An inventory of everything to be seen in the space is typed on a portable typewriter that is still in its original case.
During the public visit, a performance takes place, where a fictitious painter expresses his satisfaction at having returned to the studio he would have occupied more than thirty years ago, had he not have had to leave the country in a hurry to flee persecution because of his paintings. He goes around talking to himself in three languages, his words not really making any sense. He finally sits down at the desk and finishes typing up the inventory and reads it out loud, before leaving the room.