'The BBC has announced that it’s ditching the Nine o’Clock News in favour of a new soap opera called The Bureau: It’s set in a 24-hour bureau de change, it started just twelve seconds ago on BBC 1, so let‘s dip into it and see what all the fuss is about.'
— Christopher Morris, The Day Today (BBC 2, 1994)
Changing back and forth between locations and value systems, the works in Bureau de Change engage in political transformations and processes of translation between artistic media and forms of representation.
An abstract painting by Heike-Karin Föll spells out the word 'EXPENSIVE,' humorously exposing its own dual existence as both an aesthetic object that can’t be fully reduced to a use value, and as a currency that can be invested in and traded.
Within the sculptures by Phung-Tien Phan and Richard Sides, quotidian consumer objects change their purpose and scale–shiny espresso makers appear as flower vases and as futurist buildings on top of a miniature apartment block. A flat screen hidden inside an architectural model mimics a cinematic projection viewed through a hallway which emits disorienting field recordings from numerous public places.
Arash Nassiri’s film Tehran-Geles (2015) combines aerial footage of Los Angeles with animated shop signs from Tehran to envision Iran’s capital as a westernised metropolis, implying an alternate history in which the country’s theocratic revolution never happened.
Henrike Naumann’s installation Treuhand intern is made up of futurist decorative objects and furniture pieces from the late 1990s that recount the Eastern Bloc‘s sudden change from a centrally planned state economy to a privatised market economy. Displayed amongst these objects Birgit Breuel’s Treuhand agency memoirs rupture the surrounding kitsch optimism by evoking the large-scale disenfranchisement that characterised this period, which saw previously state-owned factories closed down and sold off for 1 DM.
In more than one way, the works in Bureau de Change hint at the fact that any certainties about how we use and exchange goods, any recently reinforced borders and restrictions, and any carefully established values and styles could disappear at any given moment, calling to mind Steve Coogan as Hennety, The Bureau’s evil boss: 'I never thought I'd say this, but...pull down the blinds! I'm closing the bureau! For an hour.'
Heike-Karin Föll (b. 1967) lives and works in Berlin. She recently had a major solo exhibition at KunstWerke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2019). She has exhibited at, amongst others, Kunstsäle, Berlin (2016); Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin (2016); Mumok, Vienna (2016) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel (2012). The artist is currently a professor at Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, UdK).
Born in 1986 in Tehran, Iran, Arash Nassiri works and lives in London. His work has been shown in exhibitions and festivals in France and abroad, including the Galerie du Crous in 2011, the Panorama exhibitions in 2013 and 2014, as well as at the Venice Biennale of Architecture during the exhibition De l’objet à la ville organised by the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in 2010. Arash also received the Grand Prix in Video Art at the Côté Court Pantin festival, the Amis du Fresnoy prize and the Studio Collector Prize.
Henrike Naumann was born 1984 in Zwickau (GDR). The artist currently has a solo exhibition at Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig and has recently had solo exhibitions at Belvedere 21, Vienna (2019) and Kunstverein Hannover (2019). Past exhibitions include solo exhibitions at the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach and Galerie Wedding, Berlin, as well as participation at the Busan Biennale (2018), Riga Biennial (2018), Steirischer Herbst, Graz (2018), 4th Ghetto Biennale at PortAu-Prince (2015), and the 3rd Herbstsalon at Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin (2017).
Phung-Tien Phan (b. 1983) is currently featured in the exhibition KASTEN at Stadtgalerie, Bern. The artist recently had duo exhibitions at Aedt, Dusseldorf, (with Niklas Taleb, 2018); and Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (2016). She has also contributed to exhibitions at KW, Berlin; Werkhalle, Cologne (both 2019); Skulpturenpark Moltkeplatz, Essen; Glasgow Project Room, Glasgow; 8. Salon, Hamburg (all 2018); Shanaynay, Paris; Belle Air, Essen (both 2017); Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf (2015); and Museum Folkwang, Essen (2014) a.o. The summer 2020 will see a solo exhibition of hers at the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg.
Richard Sides (b. 1985) lives and works between London and Berlin. The artist recently had a major solo exhibition at Kunstverein Braunschweig (2020). In the past he has exhibited at Bern Stadtgalerie, Switzerland (2019); Liszt, Berlin (2017); V-A-C Foundation, Moscow (2017); Ludlow38, New York (2017); Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland (2014) and the Institute of Contemprary Art, London (2014).
Press release courtesy Campoli Presti.