BMW and Art Basel have presented video artists Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr (represented by Galerie Max Mayer, Dusseldorf) as the winners of the second BMW Art Journey. The international expert jury selected unanimously Fehr and Rühr from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Positions sector at Art Basel’s show in Miami Beach in December 2015.
Their project “The Art of Memory: Dub Music and the CCTV Tower” is an extended investigation into the ever-growing interconnectedness of contemporary life. The artists capture today’s global linkages through the metaphor of the loop – both as a visual form and as a system of cultural transmission and cross-pollination. Cologne-based Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr will travel extensively to conduct research, their two focal points of interest are Jamaican dub reggae music and the iconic CCTV tower in Beijing. Seemingly unrelated, the Beijing architectural landmark designed by Rem Koolhaas and the Jamaican music style both follow a loop structure. Koolhaas has patented the building as a “looped skyscraper”, breaking up the conventional monolithic form into two and reconnecting the masses into an irregular circle. Dub music is an electronic, looped form of reggae. Jamaican musicians use synthesizers produced in the West enabling a non-linear narrative structure, as opposed to earlier forms of Jamaican reggae music.
Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr will contrast these two themes through film, music and TV productions, seen as alternative forms of memory and memory-creation. The artists will travel around Europe, the US and Jamaica to interview dub musicians, follow them on tour and document their studio work. In Beijing, the duo is planning to document the architecture of the CCTV tower.
Combining different forms of travel – slow travel on a bus and fast intercontinental plane rides – the artists will reflect on the notion of the journey itself. As they stated in their proposal for the Art Journey: “Just like dub music, travel is non-linear, unplannable, full of wormholes, and in every regard psychedelic.”
Art Basel and BMW will collaborate with the artists to document the journey and share it with a broader public through print publications, online and social media.
- Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr, Bentonville, 2013. Installation view
- Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr © David Heitz