© Mike Kelley/VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn, photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn/VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn
Sammlung Goetz

Mike Kelley

„I was experiencing, I think, what has come to be known as the postmodern condition, a form of alienation quite different from postwar existentialism because it lacks any historical sense – there is no notion of truth that has been lost. It is characterized by the feeling that there is a general evenness of meaning.” (Mike Kelley)

Mike Kelley‘s works are based on his own personal experience of US American society and its education system. He takes an intuitively conceptual approach and exploits all available media. Kelley‘s thinking and his actions were shaped by a generation of artists that included such figures as Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, Chris Burden, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim and Paul McCarthy. His intense exploration of language and his interest in music were influenced by Dadaists such as Kurt Schwitters and Raoul Hausmann.

It was bands such as MC5 or the Stooges, and the counter-culture movement of the 1960s, that awakened Kelley‘s interest in visual art. The sources of his work range from hippie psychedelia to American punk, from comics and folklore to Christian iconography and historical references. After turning his back on performance art, he reached a broader audience in 1987 with his Half a Man series, featuring tattered soft toys and stuffed animals.
His installations, which appear playful at first glance, draw the viewer into the artist’s own psychological world of repressed memories, painful experiences and sexual conditioning. Kelley was deeply interested in psychological processes, their scientific analysis, behavioural patterns and issues of sexual identity.
The installations Citrus and White (1991) and Unisex Love Nest (1999) in this exhibition made that intrest abundantly clear. Citrus and White featured a tangle of fluffy soft toys suspended from the ceiling that was regularly sprayed with a scent evoking a culturally specific form of cleanliness, hygiene and freshness. That particular scent, in Germany, just happens to be the scent of pine needles. The second installation was a precise reconstruction of a typical American nursery straight from the pages of a lifestyle magazine. The title Unisex Love Nest and the accompanying video Cross Gender/Cross Genre referenced the determination of traditional gender roles in such „ideal“ nurseries. A similar reference to conventional gender roles was reflected in the installation Alma Pater (Wolverine Den) (1990) mocking the banners, signs and symbols of Kelley‘s own alma mater, ther University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with its focus, shared with other such universities, on honouring male-dominated sports teams. The exhibition concluded, both spatially and chronologically, with the sculpture and projection of Kandor 7 (2007) – in reference to Kandor, the capital city of the planet Krypton in the Superman comic series. The city that Superman comes from is threatened with destruction. Over the years, Kelley created various portrayals of this comic-strip city as an element of his sculptures.

Mike Kelley

271 pages, 150 ill., hardcover.
2008, Kunstverlag Ingvild Goetz GmbH, Hamburg
ISBN 978-3-939894-11-7
€ 25,00

learn more


© Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled", 1992

An exhibition project by the Sammlung Goetz in public space

The black-and-white photograph "Untitled" (1992) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in which a figure’s ghostly shadow is captured on a billowing curtain, is part of the artist’s billboard series. The concept behind the work is that the owner produces the image as a public poster. Regardless of how often it is printed, it is always unique. In the context of Munich’s Various Others project, the Sammlung Goetz is presenting "Untitled" (1992) on five billboards in around the city and in front of its own exhibition building in Munich.


[Translate to English:]

Cyrill Lachauer. I am not sea, I am not land

Sammlung Goetz in Haus der Kunst

Cyrill Lachauer (*1979 in Rosenheim, lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles) develops his extensive projects on long journeys, and delves deeply into the local cultures of the places he visits. For the exhibition by the Sammlung Goetz in the former air-raid shelter of Haus der Kunst, Lachauer has created a new multi-part installation, which includes films, videos, photographs and texts.

further exhibitions

view archive

To optimize our website for you, we use cookies. By further browsing this site you agree to this usage. I agree!

learn more