Florida magazin #2

The printed page as exhibition space

BY Saim Demircan in Culture Digest | 27 APR 16

Margaret Raspé, Gelb, Rot und Blau entgegen, (Towards Yellow, Red and Blue, 1983). Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Vincent Trasov

As well as hosting regular events and residencies, the municipal artist-run space Florida in Munich publishes a bi-annual magazine, using the printed page as an exhibition space of sorts. Different in subject and design each issue, Florida magazin #2 (actually the third in the series) is dedicated to the German artist Margaret Raspé, who is now in her eighties.

Taking more of a book form than a periodical, this elegantly designed and sensitively edited bilingual (English and German) volume is an extensive conversation between Florida and Raspé, distilled from interviews with the artist that took place over the course of a year, from the kitchen in her home in Zehlendorf in south-west Berlin to her guesthouse on the Greek island of Karpathos. It’s the culmination of a long-term project that began with a screening of Raspé’s early films at Florida in January last year, which followed the retrospective screening ‘Alle Tage wieder - Let them swing! Zur Aktualität der Filmarbeit von Margaret Raspé’ at the Arsenal cinema in Berlin, organized by Madeleleine Bernstorff with Karola Gramann and Heide Schlüpmann from Kinothek Asta Nielsen.

The cover of Florida magazin #02, A conversation between Florida and the artist Margaret Raspé. Courtesy: Lothringer13 / Florida, Munich

Dividing up her work thematically, Florida covers the full range of Raspé’s practice: from her alchemical Super-8 films, for which she devised and built a ‘camera helmet’ to record cooking Schnitzel in Schweineschnitzel (Pork Schnitzel, 1971) and herself painting in Gelb, Rot und Blau entgegen (Towards Yellow, Red and Blue, 1983) - filming directly what she saw as a ‘camera-woman-machine’; to using her garden for exhibitions in former West Berlin which she organized from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Florida’s questions are analytic and inquisitive and Raspé’s responses are insightful. She speaks not just about her work as an artist but as someone ‘bound up in a system, a capitalist system’. Raspé has a fondness for recounting memories of past artistic friendships; hosting Fluxus and the Viennese Actionists; minor histories of West Berlin and her time spent with firewalkers in Greece – the subject of her film, Anastenária - Das Fest der Feuerläufer von Lagadás (Anastenária - Festival of the Lagadás Firewalkers, 1978–85).

Florida magazin is testament to the self-organizing drive of its publishers – the current committee members are artists Maximiliane Baumgartner and Ruth Höflich, and musician Colin Djukic. More importantly, their carefully-researched advocacy of Raspé’s work makes the publication a valuable first-hand account of the artist’s practice. It takes initiative to investigate the peripheral, and it’s smart to use an editorial format. By doing so Florida has created a lasting record of an overlooked practice, something which a temporary presentation of works could never do.

Saim Demircan is a curator and writer. He lives in Turin, Italy. He recently curated ‘Exhibition as Image’ at 80WSE, New York, USA.