The titular work “Buchhandlung Kalter König” relates to a posthumously published book by Martin Kippenberger: “No Drawing No Cry.” This book reproduces the hotel writing paper that Kippenberger had previously published—with drawings—in the two famous volumes Hotel-Hotel and Hotel-Hotel-Hotel, though in this case his instructions were to publish the same stationery “cleansed” of the drawings. The result was a book of blank sheets of paper showing nothing but the letterheads and logos of the hotels where Kippenberger had stayed.
Sven Sachsalber took this gesture as an invitation to draw on the paper again. To the evident detriment of the material value of this costly edition he has kept a diary in which he undertakes a systematic process of discovery and self-analysis.
In this book Sachsalber has made 222 pencil drawings where contemporary culture, folklore, the animal kingdom and the human world encounter everyday moods and atmospheres. In reproducing pictures of alpine traditions (years of adverts printed on the back of “Artforum” magazine for the Swiss Galerie Bruno Bischofberger) he starts to weave together symbols and emblems of the alpine world, from Giacometti’s house to San Pellegrino mineral water – “bottled in the same part of the Italian Alps that Sachsalber comes from” – as his biography is at pains to point out.
Besides the pages of “Buchhandlung Kalter König”, the books A B BC (2017) and Berg (with Siggi Hofer, 2015) are also pervaded with the same constant searching, criticism and concern that Sachsalber feels for the landscape as a cultural and emotional construct. At the same time, the juxtaposition of these three art books again reveals the intention to make his biography and the exploitative strategic marketing of the alpine landscape – i.e. high and popular culture – into a caustic and grotesque short circuit.
Sachsalber looks at Martin Kippenberger to come to terms with his own development, heritage and personal ambitions. The world that emerges is tragic and absurd. And of course it’s also about the body, which is often regarded as being in a rivalry with the mountain and is inevitably exhausted by it. “Zebracabana” (2018) is a ski suit that Sachsalber has modelled on the iconic design of the German national ski team: what’s a zebra doing in the snowy mountains?
Sven Sachsalber (b. 1987, Silandro, lives and works in New York) studied at the Royal College of Art, London. His work has been presented at Bible, NY; Shoot the Lobster, NY; White Columns, NY; Helper, Brooklyn; Performa, NY; Fiorucci Art Trust, Stromboli; Palais de Tokio, Paris; Museion, Bolzano; Limoncello Gallery, London and elsewhere.
Save the date:
“Temporary Lovers” by the collective Parasite 2.0 opens at ar/ge kunst on 22 March; temporarily overlapping with the exhibition by Sven Sachsalber, this project will follow further reflection
As on notions like animality, landscape and community through other methodologies and ways of feeling.
With the kind support of
Barth – Interior, Bressanone
The Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Department of Culture
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio
City of Bolzano, Department of Culture
A special thanks for the material to Lasa Marmo