Portrait William Pope. L: Peyton Fulford, Installation views: Frank Sperling
Best known for his performance series "Crawls" since the 1970s, playwright, poet and artist William Pope. L uses satirically exaggerated performances, installations, writings, and drawings to address structural discrimination against marginalized societal groups based on skin color, gender, and class. His works generate discomfort and shame. For Berlin's Schinkel Pavillon, Pope. L conceived his installation-performance "Contraption" - a term that stands for a machine or device that seems unnecessarily complicated and is often poorly built or unsafe. This machine, ostensibly based on a simple construction drawing by Pope. L, shreds wooden architectural models referring to the Schinkel Pavillon, the Humboldt Forum, and the Neue Wache, while visitors can see through the window the original buildings that represent the imperial, colonial power aesthetics of Prussia and the German Empire, at a time when, in parallel to colonial oppression and a constructed claim to power, the ideal of humanism was being developed. At the same time, actors interact with the machine according to a storyline he prescribes and read Pope. L´s poem "Between a Figure and a Letter": Of "Immigration ideas, crawled out of the asses of the contemporaries" and of the "docential" (portmanteau of docent and essentiell) posturing and "calculated ignorance" of the "Schinkelians."
The process of transforming the wooden models into disgorged chips forms an abstract mass that gradually spreads and begins to fill the space until it becomes a threat itself. In the process, the various layers of perception of "Contraption", reinforced by the jaded apathy of the "workers" operating them, overlap in an automated, serial process, underpinned by a, likewise layered, sound architecture, which creates another level of discomfort through its monotony and volume.
In the basement of the pavilion octagon, the film "Small Cup," written and directed by Pope. L in 2004, shows the seemingly harmless destruction of a scaled-down model of the Washington Capitol (Latin "Cup-ola") by chickens and a small goat, in dialogue with the controversial domed building of the neighboring Humboldt Forum. In another tour of the lower rooms, works from his "Skin Set Drawings: the space between the letters" series can be viewed in partitioned booths and visible only through square openings, while other drawings are hidden behind an Afrofuturistic silver foil and stabbed by a wooden pole. The silver color of the foil, reminiscent of shiny space suits, continues in potatoes, also painted in silver and layered on the floor, which begin to sprout over the course of the exhibition and enter into another process of transformation. Thus, in Pope. L violence and transformation become irreversible processes that - in a departure from the "sorcerer's apprentice" of Goethe, Schinkel's contemporary - do not result in redemption.
POPE. L: "BETWEEN A FIGURE AND A A LETTER" : 09.04. - 31.07.2022
DO - FR: 14 - 17 UHR
SA - SO: 11 - 19 UHR