Helke Bayrle

Portikus Under Construction

Portikus Under Construction: an archive of 132 films shot by Helke Bayrle in the spaces of one of the most important European contemporary art institutions, Portikus of Frankfurt am Main. Since 1993 the director Helke Bayrle has documented the installation and preparation of all the solo shows that have taken place in the kunsthalle of Portikus at Frankfurt am Main. Dozens of internationally renowned artists, including John Baldessari, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jimmie Durham, Francis Alys, Matthew Barney, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Chan, Paola Pivi and Mark Leckey, have been filmed by Bayrle during the operations of setting up their solo shows at Portikus. The result is a rare, precious archive of portraits of artists at work, halfway between a private dimension and the practical work-in-progress of the on-site construction of a show. The films transcend the documentary dimension, becoming intimate stories on the figure of each artist; they also turn out to be a catalogue of parallel narratives, capable of touching on and associating different themes. The project explores – through the story of the construction, composition, installation and presentation of the works – crucial questions regarding exhibition formats, such as the problem of the form and identity of the institution (now, more than ever before, in a phase of revision) and of the kunsthalle as a place of production, rather than just the display of work.

Portikus is a kunsthalle founded in 1987 at Frankfurt am Main by the curator and critic Kasper König. Created as an exhibition space affiliated with the Städelschule, the prestigious academy of art and architecture of Frankfurt, from 1987 to the present the facility has hosted hundreds of solo shows and projects by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. www.portikus.de

Helke Bayrle has made all the videos in the archive. Born in 1941 in Torun, Poland, she lives and works in Frankfurt am Main. Bayrle has shown her videos in many institutions in Europe and the world, including: MMK (Museum for Moderne Kunst) Frankfurt am Main; National Gallery, Toronto; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main; CCA (Center for Contemporary Art) Kitakyushu; Massey University, Wallington; OCA – Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo; Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna; Portikus, Frankfurt am Main; CoCA – Center of Contemporary Art in Torun.
Saturday 17 November, 8.00 PM, at GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan, the Municipality of Milan – Department of Culture, Fashion and Design and Peep-Hole present the director Helke Bayrle in a conversation with: Thomas Bayrle, artist; Nikolaus Hirsch, director of Portikus and rector of the Städelschule of Frankfurt; Vincenzo de Bellis, co-director of Peep-Hole; Paola Nicolin, art historian and critic; Francesco Garutti, curator, editor of ABITARE.

Portikus Under Construction in Milan is organized by Francesco Garutti and Peep-Hole. Portikus Under Construction is part of Shrinking World, a project set up with the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo. Portikus Under Construction is realized in collaboration with the Municipality of Milan – Department of Culture, Fashion and Design, GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan and Goethe-Institut Mailand. Thanks to CoCA – Center of Contemporary Art in Torun.

01. Helke Bayrle, Portikus Under Construction (detail), exhibition view at Peep-Hole

02. Helke Bayrle, Portikus Under Construction (detail), exhibition view at Peep-Hole

03. Helke Bayrle, Portikus Under Construction (detail), exhibition view at Peep-Hole

04. Helke Bayrle, Portikus Under Construction 1993-2000, 8 VHS slipcase

05. Helke Bayrle, Portikus Under Construction, opening