Hannah Höch

ARCHIVO F.X. / Pedro G. Romero


This exhibition at the Württembergischer Kunstverein, for which a complex exhibition architecture has been specially designed, is based upon a selection of “files” originating from the Archivo F.X. that revolve around issues related to economics. A setting that merges memory theater, archive, and imaginary museum facilitates opportunities for fathoming correlations between iconoclasm, secularization, and economics.
The exhibition approaches the term economics from different vantage points that range from common parlance (in terms of frugal usage) to terminology used in political economics. Here economics is not merely negotiated as a value exchange, but also with a view to the general distribution of things and to the inclusions and exclusions this entails.


El capital. El carácter fetichista de la mercancía y su secreto (Capital. The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret)
Wandlung (Transformation)

Capital of the Republic (30 Files)
The thesaurus Capital of the Republic, which comprises thirty files, negotiates nineteen-thirties Spanish iconoclasm in the context of various theories on political economics. Here, for example, the film Nuestro Culpable (Our Guilty Man, director: Fernando Mignoni) is contrasted with the chapter “The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret” from Karl Marx’s Capital and also with Sergei Eisenstein’s unrealized plans to film this written work. Nuestro Culpable deals with, among other issues, a chain of purchases and sales of the figure of a saint—or, as per Romero’s interpretation, with the figure’s utility or exchange value. Another file involves a series of photos documenting the transformation of church bells into weapons. This file is associated with an action by Joseph Beuys in which he transformed a replica of Czar Ivan the Terrible’s crown into a “peace rabbit” at Documenta 7.

Thesaurus "The Unavowable Community" (Detail), Exhibition view, Fundación Botin, Santander, 2010
Notice to Guests

The Unavowable Community (25 Files)
The thesaurus The Unavowable Community (named after a publication by Maurice Blanchot) encompasses twenty-four files on various banknotes that were put into circulation during the Spanish Civil War by Catalan institutions. This act was meant to propagate the renaming of localities whose original names had been religiously connoted. These banknotes are negotiated in the context of numerous artistic works and interventions—ranging from André Breton to Chris Burden, from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, from Cildo Meireles to Jeon Joo Ho—that reference currency and money transactions.

Furthermore, there is one file (classified under the title “Anti-Globalización”) dedicated to a Spanish coin where the word “Catholic” has been scratched out.

Zur Kritik der deutschen Intelligenz (On the Critique of German Intelligence)

The Old and the New (35 Files)
The thesaurus The Old and the New, composed of thirty-five files, in turn interwreathes iconoclastic encroachments having taken place in the Catalan city of Olot with the names or works of German-speaking artists and intellectuals from the Catholic south, such as Hugo Ball, Alfred Kubin, Gerhard Rühm, Gustav Metzger, Peter Sloterdijk, or Thomas Bernhard. Referenced here, for instance, is Ball’s work “Critique of German Intelligence” (1919) in which Ball takes on the canon of great German minds like Luther or Hegel and supplants it with his own canon, starting with Thomas Müntzer. 

Dialogues: Joseph Beuys, Dada, Alexander Kluge

Draft of the Exhibition Architecture

The exhibition enters into unique dialogue with four artists—Hugo Ball and Emmy Ball-Hennings, Joseph Beuys and Alexander Kluge—with three rooms specially configured for their works. The design of these spaces is aligned to the model of the “Salon” (Ball/Ball-Hennings), the “White Cube” (Beuys), and the “Black Box” (Kluge) respectively. Yet these are in fact rooms that only partially occupy existing area, for they extend beyond the tangible exhibition rooms, meaning they continue as imaginary spaces. Situated at the margins of the exhibition space, these rooms spare the exhibition’s central area, which is in turn inverted into a backstage-like situation, where various materials (objects, texts, books, images, installations, etc.) from the Archivo F.X. are to be found.

Salon d’Or: Dada
Various different works and documents by Hugo Ball and Emmy Ball-Hennings are presented here, ones that trace the path taken by the two artists from Dadaism to Catholocism and mysticism. Included here is documentation on their performances at the Cabaret Voltaire, as well as an interpretation of Ball’s sound poem Totenklage (Elegy), which was produced by the Stuttgart group EXVOCO in 1978, a variety of first editions from their written works from the nineteen-tens to the fifties, and memorabilia like Hugo Ball’s death mask.

White Cube: Joseph Beuys
Next to documentation and editions on Joseph Beuys’s action Wandlung (Transformation) at Documenta 7, during which he morphed the czar’s crown into a “peace rabbit,” and also on its current presentation at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, shown here are various editions by Beuys that revolve around money or capital.

Alexander Kluge, Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike, Still

Black Box: Alexander Kluge
Finally, the exhibition presents Alexander Kluge’s film Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike (News from Ideological Antiquity[dmd2] ), with a running time of nearly ten hours. This film ties into Sergei Eisenstein’s (unrealized) project of filming Capital (after the literary model of James Joyce’s Ulysses). Through a dense nexus of conversations, typefaces, scenes, film clips, documents, musical pieces, and more, the film takes different perspectives in circumscribing the present-day proximity and distance to Marx—he brings Marx into play as a “scout” who “can lead us through a highly complex world” (Kluge).

Interfaces (Selection)

Running between the exhibition center/backstage and the three real/imaginary rooms are several referential axes: for example, between the thesaurus Capital of the Republic and the “Salon Dada,” between the thesaurus The Unavowable Community and the “White Cube” dedicated to Beuys, and between the thesaurus The Old and the New and the “Black Box” installed to show Kluge’s film. Related interfaces include a series of “theatrical arrangements” (Romero) that the artist has produced in regards to individual files and thesauri within the Archivo F.X.

Hugo Ball / Emmy Hennings
The installations on the files “Hugo Ball” and “Emmy Hennings” consist of two sound pieces, produced in the context of the exhibition. Here, the famous flamenco-singers Inés Bacan and Tomás de Perrate present their interpretations of poems by the two writes.

El Capital… (Capital…), Exhibition view, Tapiès Foundation, Barcelona, 2006
Neustro Culpable

Captial: The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret
The installation on the file Capital … for instance involves a monitor presentation of a clip from the film Nuestro Culpable next to which a printer is printing out—live during the entire duration of the exhibition—each individual image from the entire film sequence. This generates a constantly growing accumulation of batches of paper, the escalating weight of which is displayed by a scale.

Wandlung, Installation, Exhibition view, Tapiès Foundation, Barcelona, 2006
Wandlung, Installation (Detail), Exhibition view, Tapiès Foundation, Barcelona, 2006

Wandlung (Transformation)
Taking recourse to Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés…, the installation on the file Transformation invites us to play a dice game, yet the six sides of each die show no numerical values. Instead, pictures of the smelting of church bells are shown along with their transformation into weapons.

Georges Bataille

Georges Bataille
The file by the name of Georges Bataille links the name of this writer and philosopher with the effigy of the Virgin de la Esperanza from the Spanish brotherhood of Macarena (Sevilla). Hidden in a Banco Español crate, the likeness was secreted off to a location safe from the anarchists in 1936. In conjunction with this file, Romero presents a coin-minting press that transforms five-cent coins into effigies of the saint.

Schlossplatz 2
D-70173 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0)711 - 22 33 70
Fax: +49 (0)711-22 33 791
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart