• Michael Riedel
  • Michael Riedel
image courtesy of David Zwirner, New York, London
PowerPoint, image Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London
Artist Michael Riedel. Photo: Scott Rudd. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London


    28 February 2013

    By Katja Schmolka


    German artist Michael Riedel is back in New York for his fourth solo exhibition POWERPOINT at David Zwirner Gallery. He greets me, styled as perfectly as always. Dressed in a black, slim cut suit, white shirt and a vintage cord tie, knotted around his collar. The dark Ray Ban sunglasses are a statement in the spatiality of the David Zwirner Gallery, where the last poster paintings are wallpapered with precision. We chat about his newest exhibition called ‘PowerPoint’. `No, this is no advertisement for the software program, but rather the gaps in between that long to be filled, says Michael Riedel.` His favorite principle is the principle of repetition. The system Michael Riedel, as he calls himself, creates new things out of others that had previously been created. An infinite process that Michael Riedel set in motion since the nineties.

    Katja Schmolka: You present your fourth solo show at the David Zwirner Gallery with the unusual name ‘PowerPoint’. What is the message of your exhibition?

    Michael Riedel: PowerPoint has this moment of transition. Something completely immaterial, a world in between where nothing is fixed. It is merely an additional medium I use here to occupy gaps. (Riedel illustratively displays two small format poster paintings next to one another from his last exhibition of the Zwirner Gallery 2011, ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’, which are the basis of his newest exhibition), and explains: “It’s exactly about the gap in between”, as he points his finger at the space. It’s the gap where both paintings lay with their edges side by side.

    Katja Schmolka: How did the idea for this come about?

    Michael Riedel: In August of last year, I delivered a lecture at the Schirner Kunsthalle, `8 Kunst & Publikation. I talked about my publications from ’97 to 2010. As I was preparing this lecture including my works, I had the idea of continuing my exhibition `The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog`. To once more create something new out of something that had already been created. To populate the gaps.

    Katja Schmolka: What fascinates you about these transitions and gaps?

    Michael Riedel: In a way, it’s a sense of irresponsibility. And things that can be formulated anew and don’t have to be firmly determined.

    Katja Schmolka: How long did the transition of your Power Point exhibition take?

    Michael Riedel: The transformation of the idea takes place relatively fast, say within a week. It’s supposed to be that way because I work with communication, which in turn reflects spontaneity. My exhibitions shall have the same rhythm as the texts, precisely these spontaneous moments. The accompanying sketches and the carrying out do take a while, though. I have assistants who give me a hand at this. There’s even talk about bringing the texts onto the stage as a next step.

    Katja Schmolka: And how would that look like? Do you work with actors for this project?

    Michael Riedel: There are no concrete shapes, as of yet. For starters, the project is simply preannounced. Many questions remain to be answered, such as “Do you take actors or friends to stage this with you? What does the stage design look like, (at that moment, he points at his exhibition wall and states): This wall with the poster paintings could already be the stage design. I studied stage design at the Düsseldorfer Akademie. This means that I actually come from theater. For me, theater makes certain demands for the synthesis of the arts,- music, acting, stage design, costumes, so for me it would be going full circle.

    Katja Schmolka: And how do things look for the Michael Riedel in private? Is your daily life rather laid-back, and may things come at you?

    Michael Riedel: Well, in private, everything is quite lively! There are no imposed rules in my life. You need to see what fits you, and what things change so that you can adapt them once more.

    Katja Schmolka: How did you feel when David Zwirner turned to you in order to represent Michael Riedel at his gallery?

    Michael Riedel: (Riedel laughs) Oh, that was a good moment! Like hitting the jackpot. At first, you question yourself how the collaboration could develop. Everything runs smoothly! – He is a very good gallerist. We’re already doing the fourth exhibition together.

    Katja Schmolka: Have you always wanted to be represented by a gallery in New York City?

    Michael Riedel: First and foremost, one worries about the art, and that one is satisfied with and stands up for it. I count myself among the lucky ones who were born with this mindset. When you’re under pressure because you absolutely must accomplish something that is out of reach for you, things get complicated. I never made too much of an effort at this, either. One needs to be patient, and then, things come to you all by themselves.

    Katja Schmolka: How did you come about Herrman Nitsch? I think it’s not easy to be taken under his wing.

    Michael Riedel: I presented an early portfolio of 1,000 drawings to him. And at some point, he said ok!

    Katja Schmolka: You were a member of the Mod movement in your youth. What inspired you to be a part of that?

    Michael Riedel: The style, of course, as well as the dissociation of time, that occupies itself with the re-enactment. Like an acting effect, when you play something that no longer exists. The Mods trend comes from the ‘60s and is the key moment for my work. Namely the understanding of repeating something that may date back to only a week. That’s when it dawned on me. It’s like at a play.

    Katja Schmolka: Thank you very much for the interview!

    PowerPoint is presented at Michael Riedels fourth solo show at the David Zwirner Gallery, from February 16th to March 23rd, 2013. The song Powerpoint by Woog Riots was exclusively created for Michael Riedel’s exhibition at David Zwirner, New York.

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