Wednesday, March 31, 2010
into the dark (man son 1969)
last week, an exhibition opened in the Villa Merkel, a gallery not far from here: “MAN SON 1969. Vom Schrecken der Situation” – “MAN SON 1969. Of the Distress of the Situation”. i first read about it in the saturday newspaper - they had an exhibit photo as illustration, 3 death masks of the RAF terrorists who committed joined suicide in prison in 1976, in Stuttgart (20 miles from here). the photo stuck with me. and brought me back to the comment i wrote in january, in respone to a Rumpus article on the RAF / 'Baader Meinhof Complex' film, here the link: the crossing line to violence.
not sure if i would have gone to the exhibition, but with the comment, and with the current BluePrintReview issue (dis)comfort zones, the theme called for a visit. so i went. walked through the park. took pictures of spring flowers on the way (below). and then entered. a different world.
the 2 focus points of the exhibition are persons / events of 1969: the murders committed by the Manson-Family in Hollyood, and the actions of the RAF-terror group in germany in 1969. there is weird parallel between both groups, even when looking at the photos, both groups had so many young, good-looking, energetic leaders/ members. added to that, all the emotions / happenings / moods of this time, and the group dynamic, and also the almost “pop” / media coverage aspect of it, interpreted in artistic ways: this ambivalent thrill of the dark.
the exhibit remained with me, and i ended up looking up web pages in the evening. the exhibition originally was in Hamburg, and they have a picture page up, here: Hamburg-Kunsthalle: Man Son
in the exhibition, there also was reference to the “Helter Skelter” exhibition in LA in 1992. here a link: moca.org/archive/exhibition/HelterSkelter
and here a second photo from yesterday, a blurred image from inside a dark pyramid sculpture with fragmenting mirrors and a sound engine. (that's me in the mirrors)
2 additional notes: while i visited the exhibition, there weren’t many people around (as it was during the week, and in the afternoon). so i came to talk with one of the guides there, and we talked about the RAF time, which she remembers well: she was a young mother back then. "In these years, there were 'Wanted' photos up on the door of all post offices," she said. "And whenever they caught one of terrorists, they crossed the photo out." We stood in front of a row of photos while talking, and she then pointed at the images, a picture series that shows 2 ordinary persons in a cafe, photographed by a friend. only that they 2 are RAF-members. Wanted.
and weird, isn't it: the double meaning of "wanted". there was a sexual factor involved in the RAF group, and also in the Manson family.
and another weird thing: after the exhibition, i walked back to my car. got in. and turned the radio on. and the very song that played was ACDC. Highway to Hell. it brought me right back to the school days of turning it loud. in provocation. in a feeling of thrill of darkness. so many albums, they sold. so many people who sang and screamed along to it. Raced to it in a car. No stop signs / Speed limits / Asking nothing / Don't need reason / Hey Satan / Paid my dues / I'm on the Highway to hell / My friends are gonna be there, too, eh /
not that far from man son, this is.
to end this on a lighter note: here's an outside view of the Villa Merkel. it's an old house surrounded by a park. right now, the magnolia trees there start to develop petals, one of the magnolias came with a round carpet of blue spring flowers, each of them opening to the sun, as if in contrast to the dark themes within. .