Andy Kassier, Banz & Bowinkel at König Digital Decentraland

Andy Kassier: Never Not Working and Banz & Bowinkel: Loops And Other Circumstances at König Digital Decentraland. July 14, 2021.

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Exhibition text Andy Kassier: Never Not Working:

A picture is worth a thousand words. The Internet has internalized this saying. Instead of words, GIFs and memes are often used to express a feeling. Andy Kassier helps out with a series of GIFs that get up to 250 million views and a total of 850 million views in the online database and search engine Giphy. In the exhibition, his ten most successful GIFs are shown like in an endlessly repeating flip book.

In the mid-1990s, GIFs made it possible for static websites to move. GIFs 1.0, the “cave drawings of the web” (Tilman Baumgärtel) were little cartoon-like animations that consisted of a few pixels. When GIFs experienced a renaissance in the late 2000s, shared on web forums like Reddit and 4Chan and social media like Twitter and Facebook, they were looped screengrabs from movies, series and amateur videos. Like memes, GIFs had no owners, they were created by users for users, their creators are mostly nameless.

Kassier joins the crowd of anonymous creators and makes himself a “model for shaky images on the Internet” (Spiegel) when he provides GIFs with the aim of viral distribution. He lets money rain, claps, drinks coffee, casually puts on sunglasses and sticks a rose between his teeth. Kim Kardashian and Andy Kassier are in the top ten of the most popular “Money GIFs”, and on Tinder he often uses roses to convey love messages. The artistic intervention using a mass medium generates anonymous fame, which is linked to the artist’s person and alter ego in the context of the exhibition.

In 2013, Andy Kassier created his alter ego Andy Kassier, who ironically breaks the narrative of wealth and happiness in late capitalist society. On Instagram and in international solo and group exhibitions, he continuously develops the long-term performance according to the current zeitgeist. How does photography change in the digital age, when images become the medium of communication and at the same time the medium of photography is expanded through performances and livestreams? In exhibition spaces, Kassier sets up installations and performs and streams live on social media. 

Andy Kassier (*1989) lives and works in Berlin. His work includes installations, performances, photography, videos, sculptures and painting. In 2018, he graduated with distinction in Media Arts from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, where he studied with Mischa Kuball and Johannes Wohnseifer, among others.

Kassier observes phenomena in social media and the development of digital image cultures. Based on his findings, he searches in his artistic work for answers to currently socially relevant questions: What is happiness? (“the science of happiness”, Pop; 68, Cologne, 2016) How do I become successful? (“On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Performance Artist. Andy Kassier and Signe Pierce”, NRW- Forum Düsseldorf, 2018) How is masculinity portrayed? (“How To Take A Selfie”, Goethe-Zentrum Baku, Azerbaijan, 2019) How do I accept myself? (“Link in Bio. Art After Social Media”, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, 2019/2020) What is the role of the artist in the digital age? (“palm down”,, Gallery Weekend Berlin, 2020.

Exhibition text Banz & Bowinkel: Loops And Other Circumstances:

KÖNIG GALERIE presents the digital solo exhibition LOOPS AND OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES by the German artist collective Banz & Bowinkel in Decentraland, a virtual world based on the blockchain. New digital sculptures and a selection of video loops from the early work of Banz & Bowinkel, which deal with digital image cultures, are shown. Their computer-generated art negotiates the changed conditions for the creation of images and their influence on perception.

At the beginning of July, the works (NFTs) in the exhibition will be auctioned in collaboration with SuperRare.

The METAFURNISH series (2013) consists of abstract compositions of digital objects rotating on turntables. This type of presentation is a classic of 3D visualization, as the viewer is shown the object from all sides and can develop a spatial understanding. The objects by Banz & Bowinkel, however, undermine viewing habits: physical properties, such as gravity, lose their meaning in digital space. Reflections show parts of the objects that do not exist. The tense puzzle pictures question the values of digitally constructed pictures that present perfect surfaces, but in reality often do not meet expectations.

The sculpture MERCURY (2016) falls apart in a loop and then reassembles. The constantly bursting sculpture is a symbol for systems that renew themselves through self-destruction. Mercury is the Roman god of trade and merchants, but also of thieves and financial gain. New technologies such as blockchain and new currencies such as Bitcoin promise transparency and independence through decentralization. Trading in cryptocurrencies, on the one hand, is reminiscent of a game of chance due to its high volatility, in the darknet, on the other hand, cryptocurrencies are used because of the anonymity of their owners. So old problems appear in a new guise. Digital material is also exchangeable and freely available. With two clicks, by drag and drop, marble becomes silver and silver becomes plastic. And a 3D scan of a sculpture like the 18th century Mercury by Joseph Nollekens can be downloaded from a web portal like Turbosquid with one click.

The NAMESPACES (2021) are word combinations borrowed from programming language and internet culture. Banz & Bowinkel resort to key terms such as “abstract class” and “real time”, alienate them and use them 1: 1 to make it clear that machine logic in the real world has effects on human logic that are not always predictable.

Giulia Bowinkel (* 1983) and Friedemann Banz (* 1980) live in Berlin and have been working together under the name Banz & Bowinkel since 2009. In 2007 they graduated from the Art Academy with Albert Oehlen and started making art with computers. Their work includes computer-generated imagery, animation, augmented imagery, virtual realities, and installations. 

The award-winning works of Giulia Bowinkel and Friedemann Banz have been exhibited among others in the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, in the Haus Esters/Haus Lange, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld, at the Haus of the electronic arts in Basel, in the Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, at the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen and at the NRW-Kunstforum Düsseldorf. Her works are in the collections of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld, the Museum Kunstpalast and the Kunsthaus NRW.

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