This is a WW2 bunker made into a home of media mogul Christian Boros. It is also a fortress of corporate art, the Sammlung Boros aka Boros Collection. Yet another communications empire in the mode of Saatchi & Saatchi which does not even speculate, it simply determines what the next big – and it’s all about big – thing is. There was already something imperious in Duchamp’s gesture “this is art, because me, artist, says so” and thus he is the progenitor, the fountainhead1 of this situation. The circular reasoning (plus argumentum ad auctoritatem) that corresponds to the vicious circulating of power as capital or capital as power (not to mention the libido). The gesture was this year most omnipresently repeated by Daft Punk: “Random Access Memories is an absolute masterpiece, because we, the machine, say so.” You’re not saying it’s not, you’re just saying it has to be no matter what.
Curator or rather curatrix, the usual bespectacled prettiness, looked as if she knew her beuyses, weiweis, rancières, žižeks, however, what followed was the worn-out collage of metaphors, symbols, big notions (mirrors, time, parallel universes, “it is a comment on overproduction and overconsumption” etc.), the convenient mischung of over-explaining and as-if-mystique. The main category, indicator of value, remained the ne-plus-ultra adjective of “famous”, uttered somewhat ingenuously, as if it being famous had no connection with it being here, in the Bunker, or as if it being here, in the Bunker, had not every connection with it being famous.
In any case, the whole set-up has but one goal: the numinous effect (or affect that blends into numismatic), the collection, the Sammlung wants to invoke fear and trembling, fascination and compulsion, it demands, decrees to be held in awe. Furthermore, for that singular variety of corporate, Christian Boros must exhibit his own discoveries, household names, darlings, pets. Here comes the underdone, the unaccomplished, even provincial part, the part where work and thought never click. Even curatrix felt more than a hint of embarrassment when she was compelled to vindicate the off-handedness of some of the pieces as wilful work-in-progress. Moreover, the argument of non-corresponding correspondence between matter and form already sounds déjà entendu enough, but can look even worse. “This seems like diamonds, but is just worthless stones.” But it actually does look just like worthless stones. “This seems like a mirror, but it’s only metal.” But it actually does look only like metal.
So, what about that awe? Clearly, the only formidable, groundbreaking thing is the frame, the building itself, the Bunker built not under-, but overground, with a deliberately lame reasoning (grounds) that ground was too time-consuming to dig. The intended plan of covering it in marble possibly proves this was just an excuse. It was the only Roman thing to do, but, in the end, they truly ran out of time. Who were this imperial jokesters? Hitler and Speer.
Shamed, bored, amused you exited the Bunker, you had no business being there. It’s that world of (a supposed or less) 1 percent, with which you’ve got absolutely nothing in common. There, you can only enter as a tourist, someone that would want to belong but can’t, and you must insist you are not of that mould. As a sort of penance you headed to that other (either) side, the high street of Friedrichstraße. There was a man, a curator of high streets, standing tall and talking aloud, almost howling, that “almost” being very relative with the noise of hi-street and all. A crazy, they call him, a nut, a wacko. But he was very precise, oh, so very articulate. To repeat his exact words, exclaimed in English with a German, Herzogian2 accent: “I am not a rrulerr. I don’t want any powerr. I keep myself away from powerr. Why don’t you leave me alone?”
You deplore a world in which this man is deemed crazy.