Jonathan Meese - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Bortolami Dayan, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Tokyo born and German raised artist Jonathan Meese gained international attention on the contemporary art scene with his memorable appearance at the 1998 Berlin Biennale where he presented ‘Ahoi de Angst' and became part of the ‘new-actionists' tendency.
    In Wachtmeister Barns Meese has produced an installation piece combining various elements of trash media like comics and shooting range dummies as well as a mixed handcrafted mannequin-like officer or policeman wearing sunglasses and staked to a wooden cross bearing the name Wachtmeister Barns across the vertices. In German Wachtmeister literally translates into ‘master-sentinel' or ‘watch-master'. It is also a German, Austrian and Swiss military rank of non-commissioned officers during and up to the Second World War, where it was a cavalry and artillery rank equating to a Sergeant-major. The rank continued in East Germany until 1970 and is used in Austria and Switzerland to the present day. Meese making reference again to history and post-war Germany appropriates this name and presents us with a figure surrounded by this comical rubbish perhaps insinuating that the character presented is actually the sergeant of trash culture, spurting out nonsense junk for the ghastly entertainment of our everyday society.
    "I would describe myself as a playing baby animal, a human being playing humbly in the playground of art. Art itself is the dictatorship. Art is so strong, it is above everything. I think it will take over power, real power. The next revolution will not come from the street, but from art itself. I believe we are in a very important situation now. The only alternative is art. Art will be the power of the future, even in parliament. Not as decoration but as a principle."(Jonathan Meese interviewed by A.Gupta-Singh, ‘To the Dictatorship of Art: Jonathan Meese'


Wachtmeister Barns (Dein Milk is Hot)

Foam, chair, wood, magazines and clothing.
Dimensions variable.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm