Aggtelek Philadelphia Wireman: Four poor monologues
Philadelphia Wireman
Nov 16 - Dec 14, 2013

In 1982 approximately 1,200 small-scale wire-frame sculptures were found on the street outside a transient home in Philadelphia, USA. Nothing is known about the artist’s identity or motives. The anonymous artist who created these works is assumed to have had access to tools required to bend some of the heavy-gauge wire visible in the sculptures and it is hypothesized that the sculptures were abandoned after their creator’s death. Based on the demographics of the neighborhood in which these works were found it is assumed that the artist might have been African-American.

Nearly all the works consist of tightly wound wire around objects including plastic, packaging, nuts, bolts, newspaper/magazine cutouts, electrical parts, batteries, coins and other items. Some bundles used rubber bands or tape to bind the objects together. Based on limited possible research, the collection has been dated to around 1970-1975. The collected works were given by the art student who found them to Fleisher-Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia which, since then, operates as the guardian of these works.

Aggtelek, Gema Perales and Xandro Valles, pay homage to these works by creating a setting within the gallery that integrates the works of Philadelphia Wireman as part of a stage-like set consisting of various no-value materials; random fragments, partially recycled from previous exhibitions, and various performative objects.

Though the display itself requires an activation through the four monologues written by the artists. These monologues, enacted during the opening, operate somewhere in-between improvisational theater and enacted audience participation, give a variety of different visions/proposals for the exhibition as it could have been developed but in fact wasn’t.

The exhibition is written as a kind of ‘shopping list of impossibility’ to realize an ultimate exhibition format, leaving homeless a bunch of unrealised ideas. Aggtelek <> Philadelphia Wireman becomes an economic drama based on the history of art and contemporary artistic reality.

Monologue 1: Alex Holdridge (Nov 16, 8pm)
Monologue 2: Christin Larkin (Nov 16, 8.30pm)
Monologue 3: Richard Pettifer (Nov 16, 9pm)
Monologue 4: Blan Ryan (Nov 16, 9.30pm)

Click here to read monolgoues (PDF, 541kb)

With this second exhibition in the series Exile continues to pair two artists, each from different artistic backgrounds and generations. As the defining sign “<>” stands for a freshly ignited dialogue between the two artists and their body of work. Rather than a two-person show, these exhibitions are best described as as attempts at creating a collaborative and immersive experience consisting of two equal parts that communicate individually but can further offer new cumulative readings of otherwise separate works.