*Manœuvres in the Dark*
16.02.2018 – 22.04.2018
by Peter Hein
Now, pull up text module “art,” swap names, change it from catalogue V02_3 to _4, or something like that.
Once again a call from the past has reached me, a little electricity through the cables, a few days in temporary storage in the mailbox. I turned this way, thought about it that way: what can I say about that? Why does he ask me? What can I contribute? And: what do I know anyway?
Well, as good as nothing.
The artist portrayed the young men as such, under a different name, through mutual acquaintances and former band mates, all I have to say is Muscha, Roger, Stiefelpeter….
At that time, about half a century ago (yes, he still looks reasonably young; how he does this remains his secret), contacts were limited to dancing in the Hof and going to concerts together.
Being and striving on our own planes, probably, if that. Cut/date fade-in/swirl filter, whatever comes to mind in terms of TV clichés should be imagined here. We find ourselves now in the middle of the forbidden decade of need, bad taste, cultural pauperization, grunge, techno, commerce, randomness, ornament, and embellishment of the stock market. At some point around ’93 or ’96 or something like that, a dervish of happiness and good taste appeared pretty much out of nowhere in our local crowd (at that time: Düsseldorf), of whom one had lost sight. Suddenly, large discos and the halls of traditional working class pubs hosted unbelievably hip, cool parties, where the bouncers let people in even if there was a thirty-year age gap, where people endured the pill perspiration until the beer mop arrived and the last taxi came.
At these events, there was actual real music discernible, where usually the unbearable hissing and stomping of the beats slammed those who as the passive part in a relationship had to spend the night underneath people. There, people could actually dance and not just shake their heads or blow whistles. And what seemed like decoration to me was probably actually art, thoughtfully placed on the walls and in the spaces by young people qualified to do so. Just as the entire events with their mottoes and flyers—and especially by the audience and the organizers—were raised onto the context of “art school” and art. For me, very quickly, for the organizers probably over a time span of several years, our former Hansi turned out to be the king of the clubs in the city, followed in the footsteps of Mora, Hof, Cream, Sheila, Dschungel and so on. There was always a club owner who needed his events to fill a run-down venue again, until it was over after a few glorious moths or even just weeks. They said, difficult character. It’s not hard to believe. And sometimes it was his own gallery, or a caféfashiondiscoboutique; he never ran out of ideas.
Then it was over. Done. Whether actually once again in the dead shell of the former Hof or wherever: there was, people say, a final “Hansa goes to Berlin” party. And that was it.
Just as always, those who leave are gone. Regardless of how stylish he had been, how precisely he could mix pogo and Yeh Yeh with children’s disco, decoration magic, clothes from nowhere, couldn’t care less. Berlin, just go already.
And now this, out of the blue, half a thousand words, for what?
After pushing it aside and postponing it, I clicked on the link after all, and what should I say, everything as expected, clothes, action, overpainting, collage, copy, and chemistry. No disappointments here, or perhaps we should turn away shuddering, because there might be a danger of enforced progressiveness. I’ll keep my mouth shut about the art, but the look & feel of semi-punks, aesthetically socialized between ’78 and ’83, can’t be shaken off, and for simple minds like me, life will go on as long as Hansa will open a club again somewhere or other.
Cheers from Vienna.