Start > Ausstellungen > Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel. THE AWARENESS MUSCLE TRAINING CENTER

Museum Villa Stuck Museum Villa Stuck

1 – 20 September 2020

Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel

(Emergency Room Dictionary by Thierry Geoffroy)

Daily workouts are necessary, but how does one work out?
Critical scanning of the news could be one exercise.
Discussing politics with others on a daily basis could be another.
The consideration of other viewpoints usually leads to significant improvements.
Combating prejudice is an excellent exercise.

The French-born and Copenhagen-based artist Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL (b. 1961) has conceived THE AWARENESS MUSCLE TRAINING CENTER for the Museum VILLA STUCK. The exhibition pursues two objectives:
for three weeks, visitors can work out on the provided fitness machines while reflecting on current socio-political issues. In addition, it presents for the first time nearly forty CRITICAL RUNS which Thierry Geoffroy has conducted throughout the world over a period of twenty years. Participants similarly discuss current issues during those runs.

In his artistic practice Thierry Geoffroy focuses on the present, the current state of things and the crises of the world, reflecting on where we as a society are heading and how we deal with the problems we encounter on the way.

In his 1989 manifesto Geoffroy laid the groundwork for his practice, developing the concept of the “moving exhibition” and various forms of participation by defining categories such as the type bourgeoise, the type offensive and the type exhibitionniste. The basic premise is that “The moving exhibition is mobile in space and mobile in its expression, it adapts to life.” While the artist of the type bourgeoise stays out of the public eye in his work, the type semi-bourgeoise turns to an audience in the art context. In this way, Geoffroy increases the focus on the public – or indeed its infiltration (type exhibitionniste) – with each type.

Along with the foundational manifesto, Geoffroy’s work is characterised by variations of the so-called ART FORMAT. “The ART FORMAT is the artistic response to globalisation”, the artist explains. Starting in the mid-2000s, Geoffroy conceived the various formats and activated them around the world, including the EMERGENCY ROOMS and CRITICAL RUNS as well as the DEBATE RAVE, PENETRATION and BIENNALIST formats.

The format of THE AWARENESS MUSCLE TRAINING CENTER selected for the Museum VILLA STUCK pursues the goal of training the “muscle of awareness”. It uses the act of physical exercise as a metaphor for training awareness and critical thinking. To this end, the artist will be present throughout the duration of the exhibition and function as a “stimulator” by encouraging reflection and debate and engaging visitors in discussions about current issues: how do we deal with pressing issues of today – the refugee crisis, climate change, racism and xenophobia – at a time when the still omnipresent pandemic has placed unprecedented restrictions on public life and social interaction.

The actual THE AWARENESS MUSCLE TRAINING CENTER consisting of specially configured exercise equipment and a display of neon pieces, Plexiglas, mirrors and rugs developed by the artist himself is located on the ground floor of the museum. Thierry Geoffroy himself moves into his exhibition headquarters on the mezzanine level, from where he will introduce current topics into the exhibition. The relationship between ART FORMAT, space and time changes. An ART FORMAT installed in a museum is different from an ART FORMAT activated in a commercial gallery. Other factors changing the ART FORMAT could include the political climate: an ART FORMAT activated in a totalitarian state would differ from the same ART FORMAT in a democratic state.

Located on the upper floor is the so-called Energy Room, a circular space in which a selection of CRITICAL RUNS edited specially for the exhibition in Munich is presented on screens of various sizes. Each CRITICAL RUN focuses on a particular predetermined issue which is discussed by the participants as they are running. To date, CRITICAL RUNS involving roughly one hundred debates have taken place in cities in more than thirty different countries, including New York, Cairo, London, Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Hanoi, Paris, Copenhagen, Moscow, Sydney, Venice, Berlin, Toronto and, last but not least, Munich. The invitation to Thierry Geoffroy has its origin in the publication last summer of seven fields of action by Anton Biebl, the director of the Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich. They include topics like “strengthening democracy”, “living diversity” and “shaping digital change”. As part of THE AWARENESS MUSCLE TRAINING CENTER, those fields of action and the related concepts are to be discussed publicly. How do we unlock the critical potential of concepts which, while seemingly unequivocal, are nevertheless interpreted in different ways? How do we live diversity when the implementation deficits are obvious, as evidenced by the current debates on structural racism?

THE AWARENESS MUSCLE TRAINING CENTER is realised in compliance with the hygiene and distancing guidelines currently in force in the cultural sector.

Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL (FR / DK) has shown his work in numerous museums, including MoMA PS1, New York; ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Pan | Palazzo delle Arti Napoli; Kunsthalle Mannheim; Sprengel Museum, Hanover; Vejle Museum of Art. He has participated in the following biennials: Biennale di Venezia (pavilion of the Maldives); Liverpool Biennial; Manifesta 8 – the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Murcia, Spain; Cairo Biennale; Biennale Internationale de Casablanca. Thierry Geoffroy is Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and his works can be found in the collections of the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, the National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Kunsthalle Mannheim and many others.