A Gallery Exhibits Itself …
Galerie Paranorm, West-Berlin, 1987
(…) The Copied Gallery is an installation / performance Franz John had undertaken at Galerie Paranorm, Berlin, in October and November´87. Using a hand-held and battery operated photo-copier, he pains_tak_ingly copied the entire gallery and pasted the resulting strips of xerox back over the surfaces from which they had been generated. The performance ended with the doors that gave access to the gallery being pasted over with strips of xerox. The installation was in this way ‘completed’ in a manner which made it impossible for the work to be viewed in a ‘resolved’ state (since a part of the work would be ‘destroyed’ by anyone entering the gallery). By Stewart Home: Festival of Plagiarism, London, 1988
DIE KOPIERTE GALERIE
When Franz John took his “Handy Copymachine” to copy a gallery-space, he not only enshrined himself. By closing all the windows and doors with a copy of their own in the process of performing a piece of art, he not only commented on the context in which we usually perceive art. By using the anarchistic realtime-medium “Handkopierer”, he not only produced and reproduced what can no longer be understood as a piece of art, but has to be understood as a tapestry of references, meta-references and meta-meta-references to the “trivial machine”: art-scene. And all that the perceiving perceiver could see of the “piece” was its deconstruction. Once Franz John had the job done and everything was closed and copied, the gallery was opened again for the public and one day later all that was left were neatly packed bundles of copies. By Markus Müller.
Published (in adaption) in an essay of Philippe Boissonnet “Ceci n’est pas un copie”, in: Louise Poissant (ed.), Esthétique des arts Médiatiques, Montréal 1995.
Accompanying info: The creation of the project in the Gallery Paranorm could be followed live as ‘work in progress’. From Oct. 20th to Nov. 08th 1987 the gallery space was open to public from early morning to evening. The action itself began with the construction of a scaffolding, preparatory work and test runs on Oct. 17th 1987 and ended on the evening of Nov. 08th with copying and accompanying “closing” of the entrance of the gallery. This ‘final state’ was only visible by the artist and the gallerist, who was present at the same time to document the conclusion on video. One day later, in the absence of the artist, all the paper webs were torn down and removed by a team of assistants. The paper remains (approx. 300 square metres) have been welded into 70 transparent film pockets and are archived in a light-protected manner.