Is there a sound when a tree falls down in the forest, but nobody hears it? If someone has to hear it to
to exist, is it enough if it is heard by one living being, or must there be several or even only humans?
When is a work of art a work of art? Only when other people could perceive it? And if so - is it not enough at the end if it's the artist alone? He's usually human too.
But the reception actually only plays a subordinate role, because by definition a work of art is the product of artistic creation and art the result of a creative process.
25 years of secret artistic creation; on average about one additional work every six weeks, which no one ever noticed as such. Preparations usually took considerably longer, some works were and are created over years. Thus emerged many of the now well over 200 works in parallel.
If they were to become part of the environment, materials have always been used that are perishable, rot quickly, and can dissolve into their components.
Many could've been discovered, or still could. But without the framing as a work of art this is unlikely. Just like with the here shown Air Package of Christo in the Gasometer in Oberhausen 2014. without framing as art the great work would have stayed invisible. So the role of the reception remains questionable after all.
The following pictures were mainly taken after an action, whereby care was taken that neither the place nor the respective works are to be deciphered. If the action was repeated several times, there is only one of these pictures here.
Is there a sound when a tree falls down in the forest, but nobody hears it? If someone has to hear it to
to exist, is it enough if it is heard by one living being, or must there be several or even only humans?
In ten forests in NRW, Hessen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin, 1.000 origami birds were released, each
in ten different forms within ten autumns. The folding paper was homemade from vegetable fibres, sweet grass, fresh
water algae and the feces of goats, sheep and guinea pigs. (Sounds more disgusting than it is, because almost no animal
protein has been digested here and the substance is rather fibrous and odourless after a short time. Nevertheless
during the moist work steps gloves, face mask and eye protection were used. You never know ...)
The origami birds were released cuddly under leaves carefully into the wild. Well protected, they hid instantly - and were seen again.
Commentary on the extinction of species in German nature, even in the forests, and protest against this decline in biodiversity.
After the cellar pit of the new house had been dug by very dear friends, 333 dried four-leaf clovers had been
carefully buried within the building ground before the sand, that lies under the base plate, was applied.
Commentary on the selflessness of genuine affection. The symbols of happiness are not given away openly, which again flatters the ego, because you have such a sweet idea, but given away unnoticed. Do symbols of luck have an ontological essence and have an effect on their own or are they just a suggestion?
On a beach that had long since become smooth again, ten oversized oars were formed from sand, each three metres
Already in the childhood years, building sandcastles was just the thing of other children. Sea turtles, crocodiles, lizards, sleeping cats with mice around them and much more were rather the motifs that emerged from the sand in those days. The fun of once remained and even today it must still be animals, but also more serious issues.
Commentary on the transience of man-made things and the fact that nature alone "holds the oar".
On a beach that had long since become smooth again, six almost original-sized inflatable boats were built from sand.
Commentary against the flow of refugees across the sea. The hopes, dreams and justifications are built on sand, as no better life is waiting for them in Europe. The difficulties are just different. But the sandy beach in particular also comments further circumstances besides the much conjured up colonialism late damage and the undoubtedly out of control worldwide arms trade and the promotion of war for marketing reasons. One aspect often gets lost in the process. An aspect that like no other could foster the fallacy and misconception that even the poorest Europeans would live a life of luxury, where they would only be lazy lying around, the roast pigeons flying into their mouths: cheap tourism. Which at first seems beneficial and profitable, led to a completely wrong picture of European life, in which apparently even the poorest people were able to live a feudal life. Reality has been ignored.
On a beach that has long since become smooth again, large two-metre diameter Bitcoins were produced, which were also
used to represent the other Internet currencies.
Commentary on the absurd excesses of the creation of money. These currencies are even more than real money not backed up by real values. In fact, their value is currently well below the cost of the electricity used to extract them.
On a beach that has long since become smooth again, the word "social system" was built in 3-D letters over a length of
more than 12 metres.
Commentary on the fact that this is meanwhile also built on sand. The idea of income for all may relieve its bureaucratic burden, but will be financially damaging in the long run, as even fewer people will pay for the possibility of payment. The downward spiral would be strengthened rather than stopped. Especially since unifications of this kind have never worked for everyone in the long run.
Roughly described, a consolidation of the social system can only succeed if it would be reserved for people who are actually in need of help, i.e. very young, very old or very sick people without own savings and if the tax payments of the wages in the lower income sectors would be significantly reduced. From the medium sectors up to the largest companies, the levies should be uniformly low in percentage terms, so that the progressive tax burden would be smoother and performance would not be gradually punished, which in turn would make investments more profitable and business emigration less attractive, which would lead to more and better paid jobs.
What can be done against envious thinking, in which the wonderful Cologne saying "Man muss uch jünne künne!" (freely translated: "One should be able to grant") is going down completely, is beyond imagination at this point.
Around 1000 real leaves of the autumn foliage have been painted within five autumn seasons with notes of famous and
unknown compositions and put between the leaf masses again. Walkers thus passed important music without noticing it.
Commentary on the transience of creation or on the fact that the musical works are simply noticed or heard by too few. Also because they often get lost in the mass of the offer (here the other sheets).
During ten actions in ten different supermarkets in ten different cities,
handwritten pages of a previously written crime novel with an authorial narrator with a view on the offender were
inserted into 20 magazines each. On its own, they read like strange observations. In this case the notes were
possibly found, but that they were part of a complete work was not apparent.
The completed tenth action was photographed - and as you can see: You can't see anything. Except magazines. Commentary on the questions of what literature actually is and from when on a text is perceived as such. Furthermore allusion to the tradition of literary romanticism, which requires to reject the closed work and think in fragments.
Tiny penises and vaginas made of organic origami paper were left lying around in pubs, cafes and restaurants.
In total 200 were left behind, across Germany in ten cities, one sex part per company. Mostly in the decoration,
sometimes in menu racks. Since they can only be properly decoded as genitals when you know what origami folding
is supposed to represent, especially if the papers had patterns, these small works were certainly not perceived
Commentary on the complete sexualization of society, which is at the same time a desexualization. Sex is everywhere and is becoming more inconspicuous and uninteresting.
Classics of world literature were smuggled into the walls of shell buildings and walled in. Ten times there
were adventurous events to make this happen without anyone seeing it and above all without destroying anything.
It was also important, that the books could never cause a disturbance on the building. The actions took place
exclusively in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Commentary on the pillars of our culture, which are in the foundation and the walls, but usually no longer read within the largest and most densely populated area of the land of poets and thinkers.
Annual guerrilla gardening (meanwhile 25x) in spring on field and forest margins by sowing native flowering
wild plants for the survival of insects, which we all find rather annoying, but which are extremely important
for our ecosystem and which's population has been extremely reduced by the use of pesticides, insecticides and
so-called plant protection products. The fewest margins have finally been permanently cleaned up - perhaps not
only the insects like it. The seeds were sown in such a way that they yielded letters, which in turn yielded short
stories around a whole margin. Probably the least obvious art action, because in the end you only saw wild flowers
at best along the way...
Commentary on the handling of public space in the sense of nature and naturalness. That something like this simply grows somewhere is actually the normal state and not that everything has to be cultivated.
In public space, two or more people performed dialogues, quarrels, love scenes or dramas that were not recognizable
as a play, but had to be evaluated by the environment as authentic interaction. In reality the conversations were
planned. For this purpose, about 50 textbooks were created, 20 of which were eventually realized in public places
in ten cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. The persons involved were aware of this, but undertook not to document the
respective action in any phase in a direct way.
Commentary on the sociological fact that we basically always play theatre, as Erving Goffman has noted. The conversations and dialogues of our "normal" life are just as much a spectacle. Depending on the context and the person opposite, we take on a different role.
Increase of unnoticed theatre in public space. Ten conversations with people on the train, on the bus, in the
elevator, on the street and in shops in ten cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. The role book written beforehand in
each case prescribed a scene that had to be implemented into the conversation literally. The scene was always
something that had no space in one's own real life, but should document a large part of life. In the end, the
participants in the discussion became part of a play themselves, without knowing or realizing it.
Commentary on the relativity of reality and the psychological fact that one "cannot not manipulate", as Paul Watzlawick once correctly stated. The unsuspecting nature of the people, to just see us 100% in an invented role, makes only a gradual difference to friends or colleagues who know us, but in fact only notice a part of us as a character in its entirety and of the truth of our lives.
The aforementioned object from the novel Wandelgermanen was produced 12 times and placed in free compartments
in 12 different hardware stores in the Münsterland - including a price tag and an invented bar code.
Commentary on art as the only refuge of purposelessness. Between a lot of tools that "make sense" and serve a purpose, the rapille is the only object without a purpose. A murp.
Figures and other small sculptures were built ten times from wax within three hours each time and then
immediately crushed again to form something new. The number of temporary sculptures is no longer comprehensible.
The wax coating of cheese proved to be particularly suitable. This wax becomes supple quickly even with body heat and still remains meticulously moldable the whole time. These balls, but not the temporary figures, were shown at the Ab ins Buch | Into the Book!-exhibition with a snappy saying that did not yet indicated the actual purpose of the balls.
Remnants of beeswax candles are also outstandingly suitable, although somewhat more intensive body heat and strength are required. The more pleasant scent of them compensates for that.
Commentary on the question of when a "work" begins and ends and what "life span" is important for it. Is a work a work when it was only manifested for two seconds?
Especially artfully formed biscuits were shaped and baked in a lengthy process and then eaten as quickly as
possible. Variation of the temporary wax figures. Here too, it is no longer possible to trace how many biscuits
were created. But so far on six baking days before Christmas these cookies were also formed and baked for three
The meal, although the premise was "as soon as possible", dragged on a little longer.
Commentary on the question of when a "work" begins and ends and what "life span" is important for it. Also an allusion on the fact that artists are also just physical people who use this action only as an excuse to be allowed to eat tons of cookies.
From digital games, more precisely Animal Crossing and Anno, houses and worlds were created in a
season of several hundreds hours of designing and building. They can only be seen in the personal memory in one's
own computer or handheld, but how quickly a hard drive goes bust and the data disappears into nirvana... So far at
four versions of Animal Crossing and six ones of Anno at least one world of their own has been created
in addition to the missions etc. If you look closely, you will find a few screenshots from it in Digital Game
from the series of pictures Under the Surface.
Commentary on the question of when a "work" begins and ends in terms of the time spent on it, the medium and the (non-existent) recipients. Or can a game only be the work of the game creator, even if the players have the freedom to use the given opportunities at will? But where to draw the line there? Are then the creation of paper and pens the only creative act, or is the use of these also a creative process? This comparison makes the decision easier...
Apart from the creative effort, worlds built virtually in games are the result of enormous diligence.
At the beginning of getting to know each other, Sylvia Witt and Oliver Uschmann spun out a 20.000-pages long mail
correspondence. But also with or at least to other people there has been much, long and detailed writing, philosophical
and practical debate, and personal topics exchanged. In total, about 67.000 densely written pages in literary quality
were created, sent via eMail.
Works that have no audience apart from the two participants, although they tell many stories and cost thousands of
hours to make. 90% of all mails emerged between Sylvia Witt and seven other people. The The remaining 10% are distributed
among roundabout 100 other people.
Commentary on the text form of the letter as the most common unnoticed work of art. Probably the largest contingent of a country's literature consists of this form of unnoticed texts, which could also provide better information about the Zeitgeist and mankind than any textform intentionally produced for other eyes, whether published or not. At this point, authentic correspondence is also clearly distinguished from the letters, which authors like Martin Walser or Peter Handke consciously published during their lifetime (!).
Snapchat and WhatsApp statuses are automated offers to which something is posted and which disappear after 24 hours.
Away from such offers there is the possibility to write an information in WhatsApp. This information, formerly known
as "status", can only be be seen by the contacts, that is, those people who know the corresponding telephone number.
But they only see the information if they explicitly look for her. If it changes, there will be no notification. Most
users do not use this function at all or only with the preset sayings. The next larger group writes something personal,
which is not allowed to contain more than 139 characters. And then there are those who copy and paste so-called wisdom
from the vastness of the Internet. Either way: This information is rarely changed.
But for some years, a sentence of a longer story has been published here a few times a week: Professor Layton as a cloth figure wants to travel. He systematically researches the countries and discovers their charming or less charming peculiarities. But mostly the (real) information of the Foreign Office, which only speaks of violence, robbery, trickery, dangerous animals, dangerous nature and illness, puts him a spoke in his wheel.
Contacts could read the story live, but who regularly clicks on a person's info, of which most people within their contact list only read the always same beginning? The continuation is not arbitrary. It follows a certain pattern. But this remains a secret.
Commentary on the volatility of the Internet and today's consumerist attitude towards art. But also a commentary on the obvious intention of the government to discourage travel and suggest that there could be something like safety in life.
Already in 2004 a picture on canvas was created, which was published cut up as Splitter der Moderne | Splinters
of Modernity in the art magazine Köllefornia and sent to the subscribers. When the letterboxing
known since the 19th century got GPS support, geocaching came to life.
Within this framework, the idea of 2004 was reopened and fragments of specially created paintings on canvas were
distributed in geocaching chests throughout Germany. In the meantime nine of these paintings have been distributed in
fragments. It's not clear, how many fragments have already been discovered, but what is certain is that there is no
way of putting all the fragments of each image back together again.
Commentary on "undiscovered" art in the literal sense and that sometimes even works that should not remain undiscovered stay hidden.
In 15 actions, more than 400 narrow memorial plaques made of natural wood were placed on country roads in Germany,
which not reminded of people killed by vehicles, but of animals. They were labeled with water-soluble and
environmentally friendly colors.
It could be that it was this series that sowed the seed for the hilarious idea of Scholz & Friends on behalf of the federal government, to warn before the road rage on motorways in the form of the Runter vom Gas | Get off the gas campaign. That would've been a really flawed incentive, because these motifs of obituaries and mourning people suggest naive drivers, that they are already on the brink of death anyway and that they should not forget this - until they actually stop involuntarily at the next bridge pier. One should always keep an eye on the functioning of the unconscious: It knows no irony or reverse psychology. Even more so, it knows no negations, so that all suggestions or affirmations must always be kept only positive, as soon as the consciousness is busy with something else - e.g. safe driving. But Scholz & Friends obviously has no idea about how messages are received unconsciously - and that it is something different to receive a campaign message at speeds of over 100 km/h, surrounded by other road users, than to receive it in the comfortable, safer living room chair. Actually a case for a rebuke of the German Advertising Council. But who wants to take on Scholz & Friends?
Originally a commentary on the long overdue equation of the value of man and animal. Meanwhile a commentary on the absurdity of the anti-road rage campaign in the sense of faulty thought control. Where the memorial plaques at the very most should encourage to reflect on our fellow beings, the fictitious obituaries suggest that you're about to have an accident.
A scratch picture was created in the hot summer of 2018 over a 2000m² large, dried out property. Across the whole
area a stylized cat playing with the planets of our solar system, had been scratched a few centimeters deep into the
ground. Maybe one day there'll be a documentation picture from Google Earth, but so far there is nothing to see,
especially since at the end of the summer, grass grew over the picture fastly.
If there are more hot summers of this length, it is quite possible that more of these scarred images will appear.
Commentary on perspective. Some works can only be recognized if the focus is set significantly closer or even significantly further.
Ten watercolors with the theme of pain, were produced for this action and in a radical continuation of Splitter
der Moderne | Splinters of Modernity turned into confetti and scattered at a carnival celebration in Cologne without
anyone knowing what the confetti was made of.
Commentary on the meaning of art and joy of life or processing pain through fun and celebration: Pain is fragmented, trampled, soiled, if necessary soaked and rubbed off by the joy of celebration - but also when it is no longer recognizable, it remains in smaller and more scattered particles. You have to learn to live with it.
Wall paintings were placed inside a building that was about to be demolished. A historically relevant scene and
iconographic elements representing the year the house was built, as well as text fragments symbolizing the year it
After the demolition, however, in contrast to the Berlin Wall, no fragments with paintings could be recovered. They existed certainly, but since nobody was looking for it, nobody found anything.
Commentary on the appreciation of things. True appreciation increases the care and thus the longevity of things, even with a house made of stone. Longevity of things generally results in lower costs and at the same time ensures a lower resource consumption. This protects the environment and your own wallet. Since nothing lasts forever, even the most careful renewal is always an option.
In addition, appreciation of things goes hand in hand with appreciation of everything: self-esteem, appreciation of other people and appreciation of life, appreciation of all forms of existence.
But this is obviously not a good argument, given that phenomena such as built-in obsolescence are accepted and that even those products that are guaranteed to be short-lived enjoy great popularity.
Behind these phenomena often lurks the understandable longing that something new will make life better, more colourful and exciting. At least for a moment.
Since 1995 Christmas cards are made here every year, mostly of the series Neuer Minimalismus | New Minimalism
and Erweiterter Minimalismus | Advanced Minimalism, as well in
2009 the wedding card. They were received by the number of people indicated on the card, but often not understood
a double sense. On the one hand, the message was sometimes not understood, on the other hand the cards were only seen
as original cards but not perceived as works of art.
Commentary on the communication of art as art depending on the context. From when on is Christmas post art? Because concept, artistic demands, the respective original idea, the handmade work and limitation are obviously not enough for everyone. But therefore they fit all the better into the series of Heimlichen Werke | Secret Works.
Up to now, 23 companies with the potential of a long history have been evaluated, up to the business plan
and exposé, imagined in a colourful way and down to the smallest detail with all conceivable advantages and
disadvantages. Including extensive research, with which profitability, realistic market opportunities, chances
and risks were determined. The only basic prerequisite: The required starting capital must not exceed € 1000,-.
However, these business concepts were never implemented. In contrast to half-hearted thought games, which everyone
knows, this rejection of the ideas is not about the lack of time, money, space, abilities, skills or because too
many arguments could speak against it.
Commentary on the meaning of working life and the enormous importance of professional activity, for which one can truly be on fire. Work is something you earn money with to survive. But a profession is something you're called to do, something that's pushes you.
Undoubtedly, a life of earning less than what you need for yourself and your family and for a good life hoped for, is extremely stressful. It's like a mockery to say money doesn't make you happy, when you don't know how to pay the rent or when the soles of the shoes have become water-permeable in the meantime. Because this has got around, social welfare exists. But only at the price of giving up personal responsibility, which makes even less happy. But when the elementary things are secured by one's own power, the happiness of life is not only dependent on how we think and which people and other living beings surround us, but to a large extent also of what we do. And therefore of what we do to secure our financial existence. Ideally, it's not just work, but a profession. Because this we all want to continue to develop, perfect and reinvent with ever fresh enthusiasm.
The design of these concepts showed again and again which criterion is the most important for the actual realization. It is not the maximization of profits...