Revealed: The beginnings of Paweł Althamer's Deutsche Guggenheim show

The Polish artist brings his father's Almech factory to Berlin (and relocates the Guggenheim to Warsaw)




This Paweł Althamer video is a bit longer than the ones we normally post but it's nicely revealing so we hope you'll stick with it. It was shot inside his father’s factory, Almech, in the suburbs of Warsaw. The factory has 'relocated' to Berlin for the entirety of the artist's show at the Deutsche Guggenheim in the city. In a cute site reversal the factory itself has been renamed Deutsche Guggenheim.

As part of the show, casts have been made of the faces of visitors and museum and Deutsche Bank staff. During the run of the show the casts will be made into masks and mounted on structures. Paweł will then use one of his father's plastic machines to create bandage-like polyethylene strips that will be fixed to the frames.

Throughout Paweł Althamer's career, the artist has pursued the transformative potential of art, helping people reflect on their own creativity and awaken understanding of their everyday lives. As part of this mission he has created life size sculptures of family and friends made from animal intestines, hay and human hair.

The idea with the Deutsche Guggenheim piece - in essence, a massive group self portrait - is to 'memorialise' visitors and workers, putting a human face to their previously semi-invisible roles. The show's curator, Nat Trotman, has likened the visual aspect of the piece to “An army of zombies taking over the museum space.”

Paweł's father, Adam Althamer opened his factory in 1980 - it was part of the first wave of private businesses in Poland. For his artist son, the plastics factory, which originally made distilled water for car batteries, is a monument to a past era of creativeness and invention in Polish culture. 

The show runs at Deutsche Guggenheim until January 16, 2012.

If you are in Berlin and want to be memorialised you can apply here and become a work of art.



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