The Chamber
Erik Niedling
Ingo Niermann
Mar 9 - Apr 13, 2013

Erik Niedling would like to be buried in Pyramid Mountain, the largest tomb of all time, conceived by writer Ingo Niermann. Therefore a structure at least 200 meters high is chiseled out of a mountain and re-covered with the excavated material after Niedling’s internment, thus restoring it to its original form.

To make this goal a reality, Niedling lived one year as though it were his last. During this time he designed his own burial chamber. Refraining from his previous artistic work as a photographer and archivist of material built, planted, and photographed by others, he wholly dedicated himself to his own life and its relics.

Particular attention was paid to a night in the late 1990s, in which the physical and psychological excesses he experienced with a group of friends in his hometown of Erfurt culminated in Niedling’s decision to become an artist.

Like Niedling’s previous works, Chamber deals with the notion of vanishing—this time, his own disappearance and that of his work. In doing so, Niedling experiences himself not as a victim of evolution, but rather as an “owner” in the Stirnerian sense of the word, one who playfully rehearses his own demise and retains control over his work even after his death.

For the exhibition at EXILE the Chamber cycle is displayed like in a walk-in-closet to stress the transitory character of the work till it is finally becoming part of Pyramid Mountain.

Text by Ingo Niermann


Further reading:
Ingo Niermann with Erik Niedling, The Future of Art: A Manual, Sternberg Press, 2011.
Erik Niedling with Ingo Niermann, The Future of Art: A Diary, Sternberg Press, 2012.


List of works to be transferred to Niedling’s burial chamber after his death:

Various artifacts, documents and photos of the artist’s life. Various mediums, dimensions, 1973-2012.
*Documentation of the artist’s life and work to be displayed in 19 glass display cases chronological from birth through to the artist’s last year. Here, displayed enclosed in its crate (Front space) and as black and white print inventory (Back space).

Tribunal of Reconciliation
Active speaker with built-in MP3 player, 3:46 min, sound loop, punching bag, 103.3 x 50 x 300 cm, 2012.
*A speaker aimed at a punching bag playing the collective brain waves (EEG) converted to sound, recorded during a reunion of all those who were friends on the night of December 24, 1998, and participated in the transpiring events. The speaker and punching bag were located at the place the events took place.

C-print in a wooden frame, 167 x 125.5 cm, 2012.
*Reproduction of a print from a photograph of a photograph lifted from a newspaper. The picture shows a Harley Davidson motorcycle that Niedling won as a prize at a carnival in 1986. The print has accompanied him ever since and continues to fade more and more with each passing day.

Steel, goat’s milk, laser, 197.3 x 2.5 cm, 2012.
*The first impetus towards an escalation of the events on the night of December 24, 1998, came from a laser aimed at Niedling’s eyes. He later tried to defend himself with a similar steel rod.

Inkjet on paper in wooden frame, 230 x 180 cm, 2012.
*Area plan mapping events on the night of December 24, 1998.

Inkjet on paper in wooden frame, 230 x 180 cm, 2012.
*Construction plan for the Pyramid Mountain concept, which Niedling acquired from Niermann, along with his proposed burial chamber.

Interview I + II
Laser print on paper, 194 and 780 pages, 29.7 x 21 cm each, 2012, divided by a pink sheet of paper.
*Transcript of interviews Niermann conducted with individuals who participated in the events on the night of December 24, 1998 and Transcript of Niermann’s interview with Niedling about his life.

Soot on glass in wooden frame, 89 x 69 cm, 2012.
*Seven panes coated with soot from burning assorted parts of Niedling’s artistic archive.

Zinc, wood, peat, 190 x 45 x 50 cm, 2012.
*Receptacle for Niedling’s corpse in Pyramid Mountain.

Empire of the Sun (in crate)
C-print in a wooden frame, 162.5 x 125.5 cm, 2012.
*Niedling’s last photograph, taken on a supposedly ancient vegetation-covered pyramid in Visoko, Bosnia.