April 30, 2009 - Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck - Jonathan Meese at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck
April 30, 2009

Jonathan Meese at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck

“Jonathans im Glück mit Aquantisismaske blubb, blubb, blubbablubb…”
Photo: Jan Bauer / Courtesy JonathanMeese.com
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

Jonathan Meese
Arch-State of Atlantisis

1 May – 30 August 2009

Hans-Arp-Allee 1
53424 Remagen, Germany
Phone: +49 2228 9425-0
info [​at​] arpmuseum.org


(Infant “Meesi” itches,)
The umbilical cord twitches,
Till kingdom come,
Munch, munch, munch …
hmmmm ….. [Attention]

(Der Säugling “Meesi” juckt,)
die Nabelschnur zuckt,
bis zum Sankt
mampf, mampf, mampf …..
hmmmm ….. [Achtung]

In a show called “Arch-State of Atlantisis” [Erzstaat Atlantisis] from 1 May to 30 August 2009 at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Jonathan Meese is staging for the first time in a worldwide premiere nearly his entire sculptural oeuvre, supplemented with large-format paintings, acoustic and film installations as well as scenographic-utopian productions. In the exhibition curated by Daniel J. Schreiber, Meese’s work is brought into dialogue with works on the theme of Atlantis by Joseph Beuys and artists affiliated with the Stuttgart gallery owners Helga and Hans-Jürgen Müller.

With 53 bronze sculptures, this exhibition marks the first nearly complete retrospective of the sculptural works of Jonathan Meese ever. In addition, 14 large-format oil paintings and numerous collages have been brought together at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, all of them being works from the past seven years.

Daniel J. Schreiber compares the interplay of the pieces on display with a cinema film: “Meese is building a great landscape of backdrops in the Richard-Meier-Building, in which his sculptures move about like actors” states the exhibition curator. “His set is a nation-state shrunken to studio format. In it he has larger-than-life dignitaries strutting up and down with martial gestures, their giant penises jutting out menacingly, their chests decorated with medals. All of this is a fantasy grotesque, a gigantic prank.” The long titles of the works (“General ‘PONY’ [It is never too late to be an animal baby]“, “Baby Admiral Nullpe, Sea Battle No Problem [Skirmish near SALAMI and Licorice]“, and others) and the texts of his numerous manifestos presented at the exhibition attest to this assessment: The painter-sculptor and performance artist makes his figures do “baby movements”, dance “state ballets”, and even invites them to a “birthday revolution”. “The citizens of Atlantisis are complete children of play,” claims Jonathan Meese at the founding of the Arch-State Atlantisis.

Two stage set-ups constitute the poles of tension of the “absolute counter-world” produced by Meese: The ruins of the capital of Atlantis as described by the Greek philosopher Plato, reconstructed true to scale, embody a utopia oriented to the past. Meese pits this against the “total future” of his mysterious “Arch-Room“. Here, the artist promises us, he is presenting for the first time a “world formula” he has discovered, which will lead mankind to a “dictatorship of art”.

In the elevator shaft of the museum building 40 meters high, Meese is installing the focal point of the exhibition, a “volcanic pressure chamber“, in which nostalgic tradition is so heavily compressed that it spews like lava from the top as “the absolute novelty”. Before the painterly backdrop of the Rolandseck panorama consisting of the wooded slopes, the course of the river, and the Siebengebirge hills, the “revolution” of the “arch-artist” is taking place, at least for the duration of the exhibition from 1 May to 30 August 2009.

As a dialogue partner for Meese, an artist enters the stage who had already discovered Atlantis as a revolutionary goal before Meese did: Joseph Beuys, who saw the destruction of Atlantis as a symbol of the loss of a natural spirituality, is shown here in the Arch-State with photographs of sand drawings, drawn and painted works, as well as with his recently re-issued film trilogy Atlantis. The Atlantis-Project of Helga and Hans-Jürgen Müller, introduced already at the Documenta in 1992, established in Teneriffa by the Stuttgart gallery owners as a cultural meeting place for the purpose of ethical and moral renewal, is represented here with fantastical-seeming oil paintings by Carl Laubin, architectural models by Frei Otto and Leon Krier as well as with works by Hans-Jürgen Müller himself.

The catalogue, compiled by Daniel J. Schreiber, to be published by DuMont three weeks after the exhibition opens, will contain contributions by Jonathan Meese, Bazon Brock, Klaus Gallwitz, Durs Grünbein, Doris Mampe, and Daniel J. Schreiber as well as a foreword by the Director of the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Oliver Kornhoff. In addition, it will contain a picture series of the exhibition and the works on display there as well as a DVD with the exhibition film.

DuMont is also publishing a special edition of Jonathan Meese’s works containing 20 framed diptyches, each unique. The edition will be shown at the exhibition and printed in the catalogue.

On 30 April 2009, Jonathan Meese will be proclaiming the Arch-State of Atlantisis at a performance beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The accompanying program of the exhibition includes a “March of Desire” by Bazon Brock, a reading held by the mother of the artist Brigitte Meese, panel discussions, which Daniel J. Schreiber will be conducting with Jonathan Meese and Friedhelm Mennekes, as well as an interpretation of the libretto of The Emperor of Atlantis written by Franz Peter Kien in the concentration camp Theresienstadt, performed by the Junges Theater Bonn-Beuel.

Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck – Germany’s only “museum with a railway connection”, having opened in 2007, poses an unusual combination of a classicist 19th-century railway station with the new, avant-garde building by American star architect Richard Meier on a hill above the Rhine. A museum complex that is not only unique for its idyllic location on the Rhine and its view to the beautiful silhouette of the Siebengebirge range of hills, but also for the diversity of all the things it has to offer. In addition to superb exhibitions, the program includes concerts with famous musicians and excellent literary events.

The connection of the three units consisting of railway station, pavilion, and new building present a forum for showing works by Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, for whom the museum is named, as well as internationally-recognized contemporary artists.

Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck
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