F. S. Interval I & II are paintings inside of mirrors, built into the architecture of the exhibition to create spaces in which the poems of Florine Stettheimer, as spoken and interpreted by various living artists and writers, are projected as sound. The compilation of sound recordings by Karl Holmqvist / Stefan Tcherepnin, Lorraine O’Grady, Dignity Sister, Ei Arakawa / Sergei Tcherepnin, DJ Complicated, Jutta Koether, Dan Fox, Megan Francis Sullivan, David Lieske, Kim Gordon, Fanki and the Frogs, Bogdan Mooczkowsky/Vilde von Krigh/ Mikael D. Brkic, & Steven Warwick / Magnus Schaefer originated in 2012 as the first in a series of artists’s LP’s published by Mathew Records, Berlin.
Stettheimer’s work had followed me over a long period (since circa 1998), continually offering new perspectives on historische zusammenhänge that had otherwise been blocked by more easily assimilable narratives. And Stettheimer’s poems, in particular (stylized as they may be) offered a highly personal voice, one that was at once both more fragile and more critical than the paintings at first glance appear to be. Reading the poems alone from the book opens up critical readings of the work in the present–these poems seemed absolutely contemporary. I asked various people I knew (some more, some less, by no means all ‘friends’) or whose work I was interested in, if they would be willing to choose a poem among those published in Crystal Flowers (the anthology published by Ettie Stettheimer after Florine Stettheimer’s death) and to speak, sing, or interpret them in whichever way they chose. I anticipated varying degrees of familiarity with, or projection onto, Stettheimer and her work, but ultimately the choices made by the various contributors, and the way in which they chose to process these poems, was entirely unpredictable. What resulted were pop songs, cut-ups, spoken-word readings–living interpretations. Much like the texture of our current sociability, this is not a salon of conversations to each other, but of individuals channeling streams of desire, speaking, and sometimes singing, past each other. The marks and fragmentary bodies painted into the mirrors are like a chamber full of disconnected individuals and affects still somehow being together.
When asked to think of a space, in which Stettheimer’s poems could be presented within the survey at the Lenbachhaus, I decided to create impressions of spaces that would fold and extend the exhibition, while very self-consciously, prismatically reflecting the viewer among the paintings, models, and documents related to Stettheimer in the exhibition itself. One of the intervals appears to be a giant revolving door, the other is like a dressing mirror mise-en-abysme. This is an invitation to think – and open up projections onto – Florine Stettheimer’s work in the present.