BY Jennifer Allen in Interviews | 31 JUL 12
Featured in
Issue 6


Anselm Reyle on his collaboration with Franz West on their exhibition Stolen Fantasy which took place last spring at the Schinkel Pavillon

in Berlin

BY Jennifer Allen in Interviews | 31 JUL 12

Franz West / Anselm Reyle, Stolen Fantasy, 2012

FRIEZE D/E How did you and West decide to work together?
ANSELM REYLE We met in 2007 at a group show in Venice, after which Franz invited me to collaborate on a public art project. Sadly, our proposal was never realized, which I thought was a pity. Later, when I visited him in his studio, I noted parallels between the ways the two of us work. Production takes place in a team that tries to achieve a certain flow of work. Only later are the results sorted. This selection process often generates rejects that end up in the dustbin – which gave rise to the idea that instead of throwing the rejects away, we could send them to each other. Each recipient could develop them further before either declaring them finished works or sending them back again for another round.

You have said that your collaborative work was done without words.
AR Yes, that’s true. There was the idea, which is essentially quite simple. From that point on, there was no real need to waste words on it, but we did communicate. Questions and answers leading to more questions. A form of communication without words that basically took place through art and art-making. To me that was very interesting.

Anselm Reyle and Franz West at the opening of Stolen Fantasy, Berlin, 2012

Who decided what the exhibition at Schinkel Pavillon would look like?
AR Over the last two years, we’ve made about 35 works. At the same time as the exhibition at the Schinkel Pavillon, we took part in another show at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Andratx (Majorca). We sent some of the work there and installed the rest in the Schinkel Pavillon. For the venue itself we then also made a mural and a curtain. I started setting up with my assistants, trying to make a good exhibition. Then Franz came and moved the works around, shoving some to the left and some to the right, creating an empty space in the middle. Amazingly, it was a convincing solution. We had done the same thing before, with me trying my hardest and then Franz moving a few things around in an out-of-the-ordinary way – so it was an approach that had already proved successful.

Franz West and Anselm Reyle, Stolen Fantasy, 2012

Collaboration – with other artists and with viewers – is at the heart of West’s work. How did you feel about becoming one of his many collaborators?
AR Franz has created a very open oeuvre. Among others, he has also worked with musicians and dancers. The very idea of such a collaboration depends on this kind of openness. For me, the collaboration was very liberating. I’m glad others have also had a chance to experience it.
Translated by Nicholas Grindell

Anselm Reyle lives and works in Berlin. Since 2009, he has been a professor for painting at Hamburg’s Hochschule für Bildende Künste.

Jennifer Allen is a writer and critic based in Berlin.