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BOOKS. Cyprien Gaillard: The Recovery of Discovery

For roughly three months, a fantastic, trashy pyramid stood —at first, firmly, with the passing days, ever more precariously—in the middle of the big white cube that is the main gallery of the Kunst Werke in Berlin. The monument was composed of cartons of beer. If in the age of UNESCO, exporting monuments is not politically correct anymore (although there are still sporadic pleas in this sense, to save them, in the eyes of the candidate host, and it’s still sophisticated taste to buy old private homes and displace them across continents), Cyprien Gaillard erected a classic monument adopting a commodity which could be mistaken for local but was actually imported from Turkey—with no coincidence, the country that has given the Pergamon Museum its name and its most treasured prize. The structure, made of 72,000 bottles of beer, lived an intense life. Ransacked by visitors, it hopefully comforted some and presumably entertained many.
The intimidating monument, the fulcrum of an art exhibition, morphed into a welcoming and benign stage, and was appropriated as a social playground, with few restraints. “I want to blur the hierarchy between the ruins, somehow all ruins should be equal,” says the artist in an interview—and this book celebrates high and low ruins, equally. (Stefano Cernuschi)

Cyprien Gaillard: The Recovery of Discovery
Susanne Pfeiffer, ed.
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne 2012
84 pages, € 22

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