Stella Geppert

Stella Geppert

education and teaching
1999 Meisterschüler Degree at the Berlin University of the Arts (UDK), Berlin
Since 2010 Professor at the University of Art, Burg Giebichenstein Halle

Stella Geppert lives and works in Berlin and Halle, Germany.

grants / awards:
2013 Work Grant Deutsches Studienzentrum Venedig
2011 Work Grant Künstlerdorf Schöppingen
2010 Work Grant Kunstfonds
2007 Scholarship Barkenhoff, Worpswede
2005 Ilse Augustin Foundation, Stadtmuseum Berlin
2004 Catalogue Grant from the Senator of Culture Affairs, Berlin
2002 Scholarship Altes Spital, Solothurn, Switzerland
         Work Grant from the Senator of Culture Affairs, Berlin
1999 – 2001 Berlin emerging artist’s grant (NaföG)
1995 – 1999 Scholarship of the Villigst Foundation

solo exhibitions (selection):
2012 Undercover Sculptures, selected by Nina Kretzschmar, kjubh e.V.,
2011 Cross Links, curated by Lutz Henke, Senatsreservenspeicher
         (Artitude e.V.), Berlin
         Provisional Land, Kunstverein Wolfenbüttel, Wolfenbüttel
         Aufruhr, curated by Stephan Köhler, frontviews gallery, Berlin  
2010 RE:AW:AW:AW:U75, curated by Carla Orthen, Speicher U75,
         Düsseldorf (C)
2009 Unabhängig von der Lage, Cuxhavener Kunstverein, Cuxhaven (C), 2008 ohne hier ohne da, Unten Drunter, Malmö, Schweden
2007 Bist du da?, curated by Stefanie Böttcher, Künstlerhaus Bremen,
         Bremen (C)
         Nowhere Is Everywhere, Cluster, Berlin
2006 Das Rätsel bleibt in seiner Verschiebung am selben Ort, West
         Germany, Berlin (C) 
         What Is The Difference Between Cooperation And Cooperation, 
         (with Ingo Gerken), Trottoir, Hamburg
2005 So oder So, (with Jens Komossa), curated by Jule Reuter, L.O.F.T.,
2002 Standpunkte unterschiedlicher Sichtweisen, Installation in 
         downtown Solothurn, Switzerland
         Parasitäre Verhältnisse und Dialoge, Installation at the Underground
         Station Alexanderplatz U2, Berlin

group exhibitions (selection):
2013 »Idiopolis«- dialectics between subject and society, frontviews 
          temporary in cooperation with REMAP 4, Athens, Greece
2012 .move forward, Werkleitz, (in collaboration with students of my class
          and guests), Halle (C)
          »Le Trac«, Cube, Berlin
          »Slide Show«, frontviews temporary, Athen, Greece
          Ab in die Ecke, (curated by Annett Reckert) Städtische Galerie
          Delmenhorst, Delmenhorst (C)
2011  BITS & PIECES, Editionen, Artitude, Berlin
          Solo II, Ozean, Berlin
          Eure Sache, Zoete-Broodjes, Amsterdam
          UferHallen Kunstaktien, Uferhallen, Berlin
          Art Entertainment & Desire, Keck-Kiosk, Basel
          Kunstverein weisses haus, Vienna, Österreich
          Stay Hungry, Kleingartenkolonie am Potsdamer Güterbahnhof,
          Drawings Wall, Gallery Paolo Maria Deanesi, Rovereto, Italien
          TM No.20, Tape Modern, Berlin
2010  Plakatieren verboten, Kunstverein weisses haus, Vienna,
          L'Unico – The Only One, Trieste Contemporanea, Triest, Italy (C)
          Statics and the Movement In Between, frontviews gallery, Berlin   
          Rückkopplungen - Kunst und Lebenswirklichkeiten - 6. Berlin
          Biennale für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin
2009  Zeigen, project of Karin Sander, Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin (C)   
          It’s About Time, Skulpturi DK, Kopenhagen, Dänemark, Kat 4 
          Gallery Box, Göteborg, Schweden
2007  Capital Lund 2014, Lund, Schweden (C)
          Biwako Biennale 2007, Omihachiman, Japan (C)
          die Tür für eine andere Zukunft öffnen, Neues Problem, Berlin
          Hardboiled Suburb, Cluster, Berlin
          Clusterhotel, Cluster, Berlin (C)
2005  Kreisis, Galerieeigenesschlafzimmer, Berlin
          Vorabzug, Cluster, Galerieraum, Berlin
2004  Skulpturen X, GEHAG - Forum, Berlin
2003  Settings#1, loop - raum für aktuelle Kunst, Berlin
          Das Atmen Der Stadt, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (C)
2002  Junge Werkstatt, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (C)

publications (selection):
2012  “… bis das Chamäleon sichtbar wird”, Halle an der Saale
2011  “When Destruction Becomes New Form”, Textem – Verlag
2010  „unabhängig von der Lage -  Independent of the Situation,
           Cuxhavener Kunstverein, Textem Verlag, Hamburg
2006  „Ach so“, Stella Geppert / Objekte / Installationen / Interventionen,
           Revolver – Archiv für aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt am Main
          „Das Rätsel bleibt in seiner Verschiebung am selben Ort – The
           riddle remains static in its displacement“,  West Germany, Berlin


Broom, Broom Maneuvers for the Creation of Pure Immediacy //
by Nora Sdun

In her art, Stella Geppert uses the common, indeed the wearily familiar, in unusual, stubbornly estranged ways. She balances: space, space as frame, the body, movement. Here, movement is a fully-grown, two-headed Push-Me- Pull-You. What we have before us is the result of a ritualistic, industrious activity, magnificently busy, prominently nervous that has unfolded during the making of the exhibition. A ritual that reminds us of notions of purity in art—ancient, pseudo-intellectual babble brought into the world by, shall we say, Winkelmann—a characteristic from which
art has shaken itself free. It has been quite a while since art had to satisfy the criterion of purity. However, these once binding claims are not easily forgotten; especially when the advertising industry hawks drivel on purity for every pore of the skin, and the co-inventor has a name like “Winkel”… And so it is considered downright slovenly to welcome guests to an exhibition with dirty floors and dusty corners, although art is allowed to be “dirty.” One therefore sweeps the exhibition space. For Stella Geppert the convention of purity, like the modification of pure art into a sweeping
ritual, becomes sometimes awkward or malicious through her making one simple shift in proportion: the broomstick is unusually long.

The effect is that the space appears to annoy the person sweeping. The broomstick gets caught on the ceiling. It is as if the space wants to constantly point to itself as a special space; a space that is always cleaned with particular care, a vain gallery space that is in the position to transform something into art that in other circumstances would not be
recognized as such. And another appalling fact becomes obvious—the price of a carefully cleaned floor is a messed-up ceiling. (There is no danger to the ceiling lights, they have been removed and stored on another floor.)

Which would you prefer, dirt on the ceiling or dirt on the floor? Although it is rather unusual, probably dirt on the ceiling, as long as it doesn’t drift down. Or, if only for pragmatic reasons, dirt on the ceiling is less obvious. Only in grand buildings and churches do we look at the ceiling to marvel at some frescos or stucco works, colorful mud formations that one really wouldn’t want on the floor, if only because of the danger of tripping. By way of grand buildings and churches, one moves from cleaning scenarios back into the galleries, where well-versed visitors immediately look at everything even the ceiling. For one now looks to the art exhibition as one once sought stately grandeur and religious edification. The gallery space holds out the promise that something is to be found within. And Stella Geppert draws together the historical development of ritual and space with the seldom considered displacement activities of the contemporary artist.

What’s more, the artist plays tricks with a well-known artistic problem. Geppert’s work is concerned with the loss of immediacy that, once lost, cannot be regained despite the will’s every effort. Even Hegel verified this and he is right once again—which is why many generations of artists have thought up the most unbelievable ruses in order to restore
a mystifying moment of immediacy for the artist and the viewer. Such ruses include painting with the left hand for a change when one is right-handed, painting in the dark, dripping paint, or other methods of chance.
With this broom the artist achieves what Hegel ruled out. The fastidious effort of the will to clean the floor of the exhibition space conjures an immediate, freehand drawing onto the ceiling. For along with a Karl-Valentinesque action of sweeping using a tool that is not appropriate for the dimensions of the room, it is also concerned with a graphic documentation of the sweeping movement made by the tip of the broom on the ceiling.

Documentation, in the sense of a comprehensible reproduction of the sweeping, is the wrong word. Rather, we are dealing with a parody, with an untidy scrawl that in no way reproduces the systematic act of sweeping, but nevertheless records it simultaneously as the process runs its course. It is actually closer to the Push-Me-Pull-You in the Dr. Doolittle novel than the broom that the Goetheian magician’s apprentice sends to get water. The Push-Me- Pull-You has two heads and is therefore in constant conflict—one head wants to clean the other head wants to draw.
Both are only possible simultaneously in a space with the appropriate ceiling height.

Stella Geppert performs an ironic maneuver to create pure immediacy. There it is again, that word purity. It is particularly fine that while the floor below is absolutely cleaned, that is, made pure, on the ceiling above, pure (i.e. absolute) immediacy reigns. The artist neither scribbles willfully on the ceiling, nor does she seek to place Hygieia, a goddess of purity and cleanliness, or a Mary, on a throne of clouds or some such thing. Instead, she concentrates on cleaning the floor, and her tool, like all brooms, sweeps reliably throughout. Only the broom handle catches, brakes, jams, slips, indeed draws, on the ceiling.
The refuse remains on the floor; it is not transported with a vacuum cleaner from floor to ceiling and pompously displayed there. On the ceiling of the room is only a drawing, a drawing that only a social sculpture could leave behind.

The Ante-Chamber Exposing a Leading Actor

Lobbying and antichambre, that is, the bowing and scraping in the ante-chamber of an aristocrat or minister to achieve one’s ends, are in effect synonymous. The words have been in the world for different lengths of time, thus they are bound to their respective world languages. Both modes of behavior play out in the outer offices of power. The lobby
as a waiting room which doubles as a rehearsal stage. Of course, these rehearsal stages or foyers could be furnished with those black and silver stackable chairs, for example. The work of the lobbyist is always framed by the furnishings of the person who lays down the rules of the game. That is one of the odious details one remembers in dreams, in
government buildings, school halls, service centers, and other places. Naturally, museums and art galleries are also included.

In this case, the character of the waiting lobbyist in an ante-chamber has evidently been turned into furniture. Although they are still identifiable as chairs, they are chewed-up, rearranged, and altogether disheveled. They are chewed-up, atomized, and somehow disheveled, although they are still identifiable as chairs. The back rests have transformed themselves into the seats; the flat surfaces have slumped into each other like tired warriors. In order to maintain some semblance of form, their typical designer-waists have moved to their bottoms. Really, a scene right out
of a bizarre dream.
A mini-excursus on sitting is absolutely necessary so as to avoid jumping too quickly to fatalistic conclusions and getting pulled down into little whirlpools regarding artists as self-promoting lobbyists who process gallery furniture into junk in spurts of well-dosed vindictiveness. Originally reserved for kings, office furniture eventually became a guarantee against continual protests marches. “The I seats itself,” claimed Fichte and Nietzsche drew a little chair in the margin of his edition of Fichte’s work. Descartes managed to achieve proof of the existence of God only after he
recognized himself in a rocking chair. Beckett, consistent with his thought, tied up his naked hero with straps to his rocking chair. In another Beckett play, a character who cannot sit is pushed around in a wheelchair; a strange, nasty variation on the “Master and Slave” relationship set out by Hegel. That unholy theory is, above all else, the product of a cultural history of sitting, whose intricately twisted posture allowed an equally intricately twisted way of thinking a better seat at the table. A society takes it place. And so for a few hundred years thinking presupposes bodily immobility. (And whoever claims they think while engaging in sports is lying. For philosophizing while in motion is particularly rare, though the
aforementioned Nietzsche insisted on it and, happily, Walter Benjamin had a thing or two to say about those who stroll. The Situationists were said to be great prowlers, although their name sounds suspiciously like sitting. However, all of the above do not currently have a lobby.)
Again Stella Geppert apprehends ritual and space, coupled with the precise probing of the terrain in which artists move, and she exposes a leading actor rarely seen—the seat.