Beatriz Olabarrieta, SPOT MISSION, 2018. Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell




Since the beginning of modernity, the arts have been attached to the ideals of a libertarian life and have propelled the criticism of social norms. At present, however, artist-critique faces a fundamentally altered situation. The demand for freedom and autonomy has long gone hand in hand with a process of economic exploitation. Creativity, flexibility and self-realization form the basis of a new model of economic value-creation. To the extent, though, that aesthetic ideas are no longer the purview of art alone, they can no longer necessarily be identified as constituting cultural counterpoints. Thus “[t]he long-cherished self-image of the arts – namely that they belong to the realm of criticism and emancipation – has been shattered” (Christoph Menke). To the backdrop of these developments, the Freedom of Purpose series of events examines forms of production that question the conditions of economic productivity, imperatives of effectivity and principles of purposiveness.


In the first part of the series, Marie Cool Fabio Balducci address the normativity of behaviour and concepts of temporality. In Hamburg, the duo transposes the sculpture Untitled, scotch tape, bottle of water, sheet of paper (A4), desktop (2011/2018) onto the actual spatial conditions in order to scrutinise working processes and value attribution. Likewise, the sculpture Untitled, opened window, sunlight or spotlight, desktop (2014/2018) examines the constitution of meaning by interrupting the logic of activity.

With the intervention SPOT MISSION (2018), Beatriz Olabarrieta reacts to VIS’ exterior space to create a setting for a production developing on site. The artist choreographs a sequence of movements involving vehicles. The car formations abide by an internal logic that thwarts actual purposes. By testing the formation process, Olabarrieta questions the prerequisites for the creation of artistic production.

Roman Barkow presents Interfunktionen 1-12, Gesamtausgabe (2018), a library with a complete run of the art magazine interfunktionen. interfunktionen was published in Cologne from 1968 to 1975 and expressed criticism towards traditional, genre-specific categories in art whilst itself pursuing a radically expanded art concept. Barkow has compiled and reproduced its twelve editions, some of which are now out of print, in order to counteract the imperatives of (new) production with methods of re-publication and circulation.

Gerwald Rockenschaub has designed two motifs especially for the Freedom of Purpose series that interrogate the principles of labelling and designation; as posters they are to reach beyond the exhibition space. Rockenschaub, who has also been a well-known techno DJ since the mid-1990s, addresses the crossover between club culture and the visual arts in his practice.


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci (b. 1961 and 1964, live and work in Paris and Pergola), have recently had solo shows at La Verrière, Brussels (2018), and Marcelle Alix, Paris (2017). Their works have been included in exhibitions at Fonderie Darling, Montréal (2018), and Marta Herford (2017). In 2017, Marie Cool Fabio Balducci took part in documenta 14, Athens and Kassel.

Roman Barkow (b. 1989, lives and works in Brussels) graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg (HFBK) in 2016. In 2015/16, he curated the program of the HFBK gallery (together with Nina Kuttler). Since 2017, Barkow has been publishing reproduced essays within the Schriften zu Studienzwecken (Publications for Study Purposes) series, which was recently presented at Papier und Gelb, Düsseldorf (2018).

Beatriz Olabarrieta (b. 1979, lives and works in Berlin) had solo exhibitions at Syntax, Lisbon, Antoine Levi, Paris, and Oaxaca, Mexico City (all in 2017). Her works have been presented at the Centre del Carme, València (2018), and Dxix Projects, Los Angeles (2017). Olabarrieta has presented performances at Serpentine Galleries, London (2016), among other venues.

Gerwald Rockenschaub (b. 1952, lives and works in Berlin) is a co-founder of the audioroom club in Vienna (1995 - 2001, together with Michael Meinhart). In 2004, he released the LP It’s … (Villa Magica Records). Rockenschaub recently had solo shows at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, New York (2018), Galerie Vera Munro, Hamburg (2017), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2016), and styled the facade of n.b.k. Berlin (2016 – 2017).


Kindly supported by the Hamburgische Kulturstiftung, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, and the Federal Chancellery of Austria.


Untitled, Gerwald Rockenschaub, 2018. Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018.
Photo: Joscha Schell


Untitled, Gerwald Rockenschaub, 2018. Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Roman Barkow, Interfunktionen 1-12, Gesamtausgabe (Interfunktionen 1-12, complete edition), 2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Roman Barkow, Interfunktionen 1-12, Gesamtausgabe (Interfunktionen 1-12, complete edition), 2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Roman Barkow, Interfunktionen 1-12, Gesamtausgabe (Interfunktionen 1-12, complete edition), 2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci, Untitled, scotch tape, bottle of water, sheet of paper (A4), desktop, 2011/2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci, Untitled, scotch tape, bottle of water, sheet of paper (A4), desktop, 2011/2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci, Untitled, scotch tape, bottle of water, sheet of paper (A4), desktop, 2011/2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci, Untitled, opened window, sunlight or spotlight, desktop, 2014/2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci, Untitled, opened window, sunlight or spotlight, desktop, 2014/2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Marie Cool Fabio Balducci, ntitled, opened window, sunlight or spotlight, desktop</i>, 2014/2018.
Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Beatriz Olabarrieta, SPOT MISSION, 2018. Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Beatriz Olabarrieta, SPOT MISSION, 2018. Freedom of Purpose I, VIS, Hamburg, 2018. Photo: Joscha Schell


Copyright: Gerwald Rockenschaub, 2018