«Drop City Düsseldorf at Lierenfelder Str. 39» is a living and working environment which intends to traverse different rhythms of showing and engaging with art. Interspersed between life and work commitments and appearing on an occasional basis, the programme will set works against an accumulative backdrop of permanent installations, living and working situations and an evolving personal collection of chosen objects and artworks, each accordingly providing a different temporal experience, intensity and interaction.

The programme will stimulate conversation around concepts of hospitality and how we live today: Lierenfelder Str. 39 is a base: a place to return to, reflect and reorient - a support structure for the onward journey. Lierenfelder Str. 39 is also a home, a place for manifesting one’s relation to others through hospitality. The globalised world offers us increased opportunity through networked mobility and flexible or remote working patterns, however this situation is primarily supported through an acceptance of a precarious existence and life-work balance. Now more than ever we are aware of the distances between friends and the necessity to touch base both with those that we love and meet through the mobility afforded through artistic working. The intimate network of peers spread and dispersed across different cities, regions and countries, accumulated during prolonged and ongoing periods of transition is becoming the foundation for a new kind of artistic programming - one built more from relationships and friendships between like-minded people from localised parts of the globe rather than from a particular thematic enquiry. Lierenfelder Str. 39 will foster and galvanise these encounters by providing an intimate and meaningful space for both living and working.

The programme builds upon «Drop City, Düsseldorf at Hotel Ufer» — In 2016 a programme of artist made objects, exhibitions, installations and performances took place throughout the private/public spaces of Hotel Ufer on Gartenstrasse. Invited by hotelier René Tilgier, «Drop City, Düsseldorf at Hotel Ufer» explored the key resource for hospitality: the sharing of space. The programme brought together artists from the city and abroad and experimented with key prevalent principles around exhibition making, duration and site-specificity. Exhibitions expanded out across multiple guest-rooms, communal areas, cities and crossed national borders and included works focussing on the temporality of the hotel experience ranging from handmade plates by Katie Schwab for the daily breakfast buffet, bathrobes by Sophie Macpherson and a permanent attic suite for hotel guests by hobbypopMUSEUM.

The announcement of each event at «Drop City, Düsseldorf» will be made with a limited-run postcard depicting a different 'fantastic flower' by Matthias Lahme.

Drop City, Düsseldorf at Lierenfelder Strasse 39 is easily reachable by public transport (U75: stop Lierenfelder Btf) and has free parking.



From 1 December 2017

On permanent display


“Consumer culture has turned goods into magic things—’autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own’, as Marx famously argued. That is to say, consumer objects bear no trace of how they have been made or by whom. And this state of affairs has only become more pronounced as labour has been off-shored and fabrication outsourced to poorer countries.

In his work, Rubén Grilo defetishizes the perfect, ready-to-be consumed objects that surround us by taking them apart and reversing their production processes in order to draw our attention to the materials, techniques and labour involved in their production. Chocolate moulds, high density styrofoam, clay of the sort used for car prototyping and an obsolete unit of measurement—the ell—have all taken centre stage in his sculptures and installations. His work addresses a blind spot in our consumer society, whose language—as a result of the processes of branding and marketing—acknowledges only the experience of the end-user.

Exactly when and how does something become an individual thing, a product that speaks to us, a finished, self-contained entity? Grilo is interested in how processes of mass fabrication lead to and are intertwined with signifiers of individuation, such as imprints, signatures, fingerprints, letters and mistakes. Mass production, originality, individuality and seriality meet in sneaky ways in Grilo’s work. Signatures are bought from the Internet, paint is conceived to never dry, and jean fabric wear patterns are industrially produced.

A tension between the creation of individualised objects and anonymous, mass-produced products is also palpable in the ways in which Grilo positions himself as an artist. Playing with different degrees of dissociation from the creative process, Grilo has at times, for instance, acted as an entrepreneur—notably during the launch of his paint series. For a recent exhibition in London, he wrote a letter to be used as a press release in which he reflected, “I distanced myself so much from the work that if my skin was just thicker it would become plaster”.

Grilo’s most recent work has taken an even more radical turn; it is not visible to the naked eye. Though they are nowhere to be seen, Grilo has in fact left his marks all over the exhibition space (…), planting fingerprints on its walls, windows and furniture—even on other artworks that are part of this group exhibition. These prints stand for the promise of a unique presence when in fact they have been fabricated—the fingerprints do not belong to anyone. What is usually one of the most precise ways to identify a human being has here been faked. Present and absent at the same time, this work alludes to some of Grilo’s central, ongoing concerns. What constitutes an individual? And what are the technologies that we rely on to make individuation material?”

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