Installation view of Michael Riedel booth at the Armory Show. (Courtesy David Zwirner, NY)
Imbibe with care at the Armory Show, which opened today on Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan, because directly opposite the Pommery champagne bar is the unusually spacious booth of New York’s David Zwirner gallery. Fairgoers who attempt to investigate its southwestern portion, bathed in bold color, will discover a perfectly aligned sheet of wallpaper that reproduces the trio of panels that hang on the neighboring wall. This creative paradox is the work of Frankfurt-based artist Michael Riedel, whose site-specific installation is both dazzling and refreshing—and collectors agreed: the booth sold out within 30 minutes of yesterday’s VIP preview.
“David asked me to do something similar to one of the works that we showed at Art Cologne a few years ago, where I doubled the neighboring booth with wallpaper,” Riedel told us. “But I knew the environment would be different here, with fewer solo presentations and less open space, so I decided not to use the neighbor’s booth but to reflect my own work instead.” That work is three large-scale panels silkscreened with posters in repetitive patterns of text and shapes harvested from his past projects. “This is also the first time I’m doing a wallpaper that’s not just black and white,” he added. In other words, color—the selection of which Riedel insisted was random but happened to be purple, at least until last night’s gala opening, when it was overlaid with a jazzy turquoise version.
Post-Armory, Riedel will be gearing up for a solo show at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. The exhibition, opening June 15, will be his first retrospective. “Usually when I show it’s very pure, the presentation of one group of work, but this will be combining the newer work and the older work,” he said. “It’s a new situation for me, but I look forward to it.” Given the frequent appearances of posters, logos, and painstakingly arranged morsels of text in his work (his 2011 exhibition at Zwirner was, after all, entitled with the pangrammatic chesnut “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”), we couldn’t resist asking him about his relationship to the design world. “A lot of graphic designers like my work a lot,” he said. “But I’m very naïve in graphic design, so maybe that’s why they like it.”