Anna Blessmann selected exhibitions and projects

Artist Anna Blessmann and graphic designer Peter Saville (aka Anna+ Peter) met each other in 2001 in Berlin, became a couple and have made art together ever since. This is usually one of the the first things that one hears about the couple’s practice. This is also undoubtedly a spot-on example of how the producer’s life is inextricably entwined with artistic production, i.e. the fact that they are a couple shapes their practice and defines it as collaborative. But the strength of their work goes well beyond the couple-also-in-life condition. Meeting each other at an exhibition opening might be equally important as personal trivia, since it points to their consideration of relationality (in the art world).

Swing Project 3, the third and perhaps the smallest part of the homonymous series, is a one-room show that faithfully enacts “the chiasm of the sensual and the social”, which has been previously discussed in relation to the couple’s practice. The design input is apparent as the installations of Swing Project 3 seek to be interactive and to raise issues of usability, yet, apparently, only to thwart the functional and elevate the relational. Viewers are urged to touch and fondle furry, coulourful structures that seem to just seek caressing. Leaning Works (prototype) comprises two soft structures that can be used for comfortably resting one’s back when leaning on the wall (while standing and chatting at the opening, a glass of wine in hand). Swatch Chain is a set of phrases like ‘strap-on pop-art’, ‘don’t you wish it were you?’, ‘Nice piece of art 7’ and ‘The Part of Me in Storage’ written on perspex pieces and readable only if one touches and opens, in a way, the hanging structure.

What distinguishes Anna + Peter’s work is this subtle urging of sensual gestures that can generate interaction and participation. The subtleness prevents participation from being forced, almost to the point that the works could be misread as installations to just look at without touching, especially if one is ignorant of the overall context. Successfully, though, not quiet to that point.

Angeliki Roussou (For South as a State of Mind)

Photos: Andy Keate

Working with materials and forms that lend themselves to physical contact, to being touched, to being in touch with the body, the works explicitly address the viewer as the user, and further the work is completed only when it is engaging the viewer/user in interaction.

Courtesy of the artist and Cabinet, London.

Motion image: Marcus Werner Hed

Copyright Anna Blessmann