the act of intruding underlines the separation of the institution from its surrounding environment. this division is set aside within the short moment of the action, the institution is occupied and charged with alternative contents. the artist wants this to be seen not as a judging but a pointing, demonstrating gesture, and explains: „if artists seek new spaces, they will find them precisely where society, in this case the economy, has moved out. you will find them in former industrial facilities or small industry backyards, but these are discarded spaces. in regards to their original purpose, they are dead spots. i want to show my art in vivid places loaded with a relevant social task. you have to add new, pulsating locales to the existing and outmoded art ghetto.“
this desire for presence and „being there“ wasn’t always handled with care by some institutions, that initially permitted this occupation. one day in display only, the presentation in the pandya-memorial-hospital, mombasa, ended with a truly illuminating encounter with the people working there. unlike the clinical staff of the berlin-based humboldt-hospital, which decided presented art as being childish and too close to their daily personal working routine, the kenian medical crew suspected voodo-magic. some of them even refused to enter the room. the art had to be removed instantly due to the serious disruption of the operational business. in both cases the medical institution reacted to raabenstein’s work as if detecting a virus. the intruder was identified, disinfected and segregated. the black death threat was exorcised.
regarding these experiences raabenstein added a new, second artisanal approach. besides „pioneering security“, the artist conceived „pioneer’s security“. this project not only refuses public audience access to the presented art works, but furthermore to the institutional personnel themselves. asked about the mounted wooden or steel boxes’ content, again installed in exclusion, the artist’s response is calm. “i am just about to forget what’s in there right now,” he replies.
again, the artist’s works distance themselves from the current and common circulation of the art market. physical, for they can’t be purchased in a classical exhibition setting, as well as theoretical; the viewers interrogation and annotation is prevented.
what remains is the narrative, and it is safe.
cay sophie rabinowitz, art historian