I.The artist Michael Sailstorfer claims to have hidden a diamond a few years ago somewhere in the ailing but charming “parking garage” – as a provocation that arouses desire, but gives the exhibition space of the long-established Düsseldorf artists’ association Malkasten an added value that is difficult to redeem. One also remembers that when the house in the park, in which cars have never been parked, is to give way to a new building that is sure to be stylish. One can regret that, because this parking garage is actually a jewel itself, if not a sparkling one, even devoid of any contemporary building technology, but a hip address for the local and regional art scene, a place that defines its own standards for the presentation of contemporary art, precisely because the framework here does not allow everything that can be easily done in museums, galleries, art associations. There is by no means a lack of this in Düsseldorf, but with the tendency to keep establishing new art venues, the city is almost insatiable.
The parking garage is located somewhere between off-space and institutional security; Continuously supported in the budget by the municipal cultural office, the artist Karl Heinz Rummeny has set up around 180 exhibitions on a voluntary basis over the past twenty-five years. Although he gave the artists a free hand rather than curating too vigorously themselves. The result was a program in which internationally established greats from the academy city and beyond gratefully accepted when they were allowed to appear here in a row with artists such as Jörg Paul Janka, Luka Fineisen or Rosilene Ludovico. The mix made it. An exhibition worth seeing was also allowed to show “bad and unsuccessful work” (from the basic art class of Prof. Stefan Demary, Kassel Art College), videos were given from the Balkans, contemporary witnesses told about the hero Blinky Palermo or the factory actor Joe Dallesandro. Here it could also happen that the opening audience wanted to go home when the sculptor Wilhelm Mundt unexpectedly ran into top form in a performance one night.
Anyone who sees themselves as an art city needs initiatives such as the “Box” or “Bloom” in Düsseldorf, here essential energies manifest themselves, which are less sensational, but also seep into the consciousness and standing of a scene in a sustainable and opinion-forming manner. The Slovenian Nika Span, who lives in Düsseldorf, weeps a tear after the multi-storey car park when she displays the water collected by the dehumidifier as an “Eau de Parkhaus” at the beginning of May.
Until then, the picture show by Katharina Sieverding once again impressively demonstrates what has always distinguished a space like the multi-storey car park: not everything here has to be streamlined to perfection. Sieverding has printed younger and older motifs in room-related size and pinned them to the walls – from a “self-portrait with a camera in her head” to her current “combat breaks”, in which she superimposes different levels of reality in the present. The moisture in the room is discreetly reflected in the prints, but was it serious to say that this would take away some of the conciseness and sharpness of the images? Certainly not. Placing your works on posters was obviously out of the question for the artist this time, because then they too would have fallen victim to the wrecking ball. She probably didn’t want to do that to herself. After all, with the Düsseldorf multi-storey car park, a diamond will soon find its way into the rubble.
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