Kathrin Böhm: Compost at The Showroom 16 June – 24 July 2021
Kathrin Böhm, Compost, courtesy of the artist and The Showroom, London Photo: Dan Weill
“I don’t want to make another project, I want to make a pile.”
Compost is a unique collaborative exhibition that explores 20 years of making art by Kathrin Böhm. Opening at The Showroom, London on 16 June, Compost is made up of the tangible and intangible material of Böhm’s artistic practice from the last two decades and will reveal her processes of creating, thinking and researching. In the making for many years, Compost was born out of a desire to not continue with ‘business as usual’ and just carry on producing, but to process and to carefully consider what to do next; what to continue, what to leave behind.
Böhm is an artist known for her collaborative work which focuses on the everyday as a starting point for culture, connecting art and non-art spaces. For Böhm art is just one form of culture, and she uses it as a daily activity to shape the world around us, whether that’s via a social enterprise, a village shop or exhibition at a public gallery. Architectural structures, tape towers, haystacks, a drinks company, posters, books: Compost is a piling-up of the past two decades of her practice, and contains a cumulation of objects, methodologies, experiences and stories. This is not just an exhibition about Böhm’s past work but is an invitation to contribute to a process of making use of, archiving, assessing and sieving through whilst actively reflecting.
Compost will involve a daily, live process of ‘turning the heap’, where local groups, colleagues and gallery visitors can actively be using and reusing the material in the space. In this way we will be producing ‘fertiliser’ for the future: for the organisation, for the artist, and for everyone who is involved. A pamphlet published by Böhm and Kuba Szreder in 2019 titled ‘Icebergian Economies of Contemporary Art’ is the starting point for a workshop on community economies. A pile of exhibition catalogues in which Böhm has a presence starts a conversation with PARSE Journal about the usership of exhibitions. Posters from the past will be sold as art and given away as wrapping paper, addressing different value and trading systems.
To enable the process of composting at The Showroom, the space has been equipped with a hybrid installation that operates both as a seating and shelving structure built using the material residue of past installations. On a warm day the windows and main shutter door will be wide open. A parallel digital space for Compost is being built in collaboration with designers An Endless Supply.
Compost also involves a new partnership with the Art360 Foundation and a collaboration with Frances Whorrall-Campbell to archive Böhm’s work to date as a live, in-public process, working towards creating a database for future use.
A programme of talks, workshops, and 1:1 drop-ins will take place both at The Showroom and online. The programme will be updated regularly at compost.kathrinbohm.info, showing both what is taking place and how to join.
There will be a maximum capacity of ten visitors in the exhibition space per hour. Booking via Eventbrite is now open. It will also be possible to tune in online via webcam during opening hours, 12-5pm; or to book a 1:1 conversation with Kathrin over Zoom from 12-1pm during opening days.
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