Selections from SInce 1986: DAS INSTITUT, D I Why?

With works by Jeremy Eilers, Urania Fasoulidou, Nikolas Gambaroff, Allison Katz, Lucas Knipscher
September 19–October 31, 2009

Continuing our selections from SI’s archive, this week we take a closer look at the presentation of D I Why?, a collaborative exhibition that opened SI’s newly renovated galleries at 495 Broadway.

Swiss Institute opened its 2009 fall season with A New Era, a collection of five shows, in its newly renovated gallery space. At its center was D I Why?, a presentation by DAS INSTITUT, the collaborative art practice of the German-born and New York–based artists Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder, both of whom also work independently. Founded in 2007, DAS INSTITUT takes the form of an import/export agency; the duo appropriates strategies from advertising to manipulate and exchange information. Comprised of paintings by Brätsch and computer-generated images by Röder, the exhibition was set in a context of reproduction (copy), advertisement (announcement), and branding (pattern). The works—silkscreened fabrics, posters, napkins, stickers—each sourced material generated by Röder: boldly graphic abstract patterns created in Photoshop and presented in the catalogue Starline Necessary Couture, 2009. In their chain of production, Brätsch would lift patterns from the book, reproducing them in large-scale paintings on Mylar, and then Röder would appropriate these altered patterns in her own digital prints on paper—thus “importing” and “exporting” visual images. Presented scenographically at Swiss Institute, these images took the form of stacks of posters, hanging textiles, and a long shelf housing ephemera and objects selected by the artists’ friends.