• Art
  • “The self-educated are know-it-alls”


“The self-educated are know-it-alls”

Hansa Wißkirchen started his exhibition series “Salon Hansa” 20 years ago, curating elegant guerrilla exhibitions with self-educated artists. Now he has initiated a new, similar exhibition programme in Berlin with P.O.P. club owner Cornelius Opper.

Image for “The self-educated are know-it-alls”
Assemblage on latex, 2012

Hansa Wißkirchen started his exhibition series “Salon Hansa” nearly 20 years ago, curating rather elegant guerrilla exhibitions in the apartments of friends.

The idea started in Düsseldorf, his hometown, where he saw too little exchange and discussion between self-educated artists, like himself and his friends at the art academy. He mixes young, still-unknown artists among more established (and downright famous) artists from his circle of friends, as well as his own works. The idea is to take away status and just focus on the discussions between the works. Despite this, his exhibitions have achieved a certain status anyway.

Perhaps this comes in part from Wißkirchen’s attitude toward art. “Autodidakten sind Alleswissern (the self-educated are know-it-alls)”, he says. Coming from a street art background and having been a graffiti artist in the 1980s and 1990s, he takes his message straight to the people, quickly implementing ideas from issues in current media such as the Occupy Wall Street movement. He sees no limit to the potential of his exhibition concepts.

“My role as ‘non-curator’ in the Berlin art bubble is not to make new underground ideas more approachable,” Wißkirchen says. “My job is to deliver new concepts on how one can generate art.” Recently, he had the idea to collaborate with club-owner Cornelius Opper, offering an art programme for Opper’s latest project, Party Obsessed People (formerly Flamingo) in Mitte. The fresh collaboration seems fruitful with potential, with an ongoing exchange about ideas on how to achieve the right balance between art and party. The show opened in mid-April with a selection of artworks fitting Wißkirchen’s ‘salon’ logarithm.

The works are strewn across the walls in the front room, making themselves quite comfortable in the lounge atmosphere of the club. Among them hangs his own piece, a collage of images of himself in the midst of activities such as DJing, printed in black and white on coloured paper and arranged on a painted black relief-like form. It feels like you’re looking at a three-dimensional rainbow, or some kind of hologram, even though the work is merely two-dimensional.

Wißkirchen’s works are meant to be seen live; although inter- net representation is necessary in the art world, this is one example of how much sense it makes to go out and see art. The sort of humming that one experiences in the composition of his works replicates itself in the exhibition at large. Wisskirchen works with an innate intuition about hanging, and its always has to be ‘just so’. The fingerprint of his curating sends a message across to the viewer. When you’ve found ‘the right vein’, feelings about life cut away all the political bullshit in art hierarchy, getting down to the essence. What is art? Why should we look at it? And most interestingly, what makes a piece of art ‘good’?

Originally published in Issue #116, May 2013