Im Freien/Out There

wood panels, temporarily installation inside Capri Berlin, 2003
Gert Bendel is interested in how we define individual living spaces. In summer 2003, his research brought him to a camping site on the outskirts of Berlin where he spent the entire season. While Bendel stayed there as a a special kind of artist in residence, his neighbours introduced him to the occupations and rituals that were customary among them. He could thus engage in the elaborate practices the 'resident campers' had created in order to achieve a maximum of stability and comfort within the realm of the precarious. The artist was fascinated by a way of living that aims to reconcile dichotomies such as travelling/staying in, freedom/security and private/public. For several months a year the campers leave their homes in the city, they expose themselves to the provisional and the state of being out there - only to conquer these odds, thanks to their muscles and their fine craft skills. One can regard this as a kind of playing that bears some resemblance to an artist's activities: Without the least necessity, the campers have resolved to seriously strive for a figment of their imagination. Nevertheless, the utopical quality of its illusory and futile aspects is quite temptative.
In Bendel´s sculptural work he adopts the campers' radical determination to have it all tidy and fitting, out there. He surrenders to the madness of going on and on constructing, just like a camper's continuous carpenting of extensions and extra extensions of his fence and his terrace. Who cares about the point of it; this is about loving the material, loving the sheer amount of it, loving completeness and all those resourceful details. True perfection is what they are after.
(Text: Bettina Carl)

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