Karen Knorr: Babylon
PUBLIKA FENESTRO, F I L E T
103 Murray Grove, London N1 7QP
14:30–18:00, 23–28 November 2020
Babylon from Karen Knorr’s Questions (After Brecht) is now on-view as part of F I L E T’s Publika Finestro series of installations viewable from the street at 103 Murray Grove, near Old Street in London. F I L E T is a space for experimental art production founded by Rut Blees Luxemburg and Uta Kögelburger. Based in London, in close proximity to the ‘digital roundabout’, F I L E T is a physical research organ that provides a platform for production, dissemination discourse of contemporary art.
Question (After Brecht) published by GOST Books is now available to order via GOSTand Karen Knorr’s website. Karen Knorr photographed the building site of the disused Parisian Art-Deco Department store, La Samaritaine, in the summers of 2017 and 2018. In this new book, the resulting photographs, transformed with solarisation and infused with playful fantasy and surrealism are accompanied by lines from Brecht’s poem: Questions from a Worker Who Reads (1935). The book includes an email interview with David Campany.
‘These photographs record and document a labour in progress, yet the construction workers have exited and the building is built as if by magic. The actual physical labour is here embedded in a process of reification which creates an effect so well described by Guy Debord in Society of the Spectacle, 1967: ‘The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.’ The images here transformed by solarised colour evoke the retail shops and designer goods valued over and beyond material labour. Brecht’s poem reminds us how history enhances the reputations of kings and leaders to the detriment of ordinary people and workers.’
Karen Knorr, 2020