Juergen Staack at Da in die Front / Düsseldorf

Time / Juergen Staack

January 27 – 18 February, 2023

Da in die Front
Birkenstraße 61
40233 Düsseldorf 

For Da in die Front, Düsseldorf-based artist Juergen Staack presents his exhibition Time. Within a defined spatial context, three clocks hang on three walls. The differing materials and aesthetics of these clocks and their resulting associations with different styles reference the transience of time. A chair from the artist’s studio defines a further point within the space; placed beneath a lamp, allowing sightlines to each of the three clocks, it sits at the centre of the darkened room, denoting the here and now. A performer takes their place on the chair and selects one of the three clocks by choosing to face in its direction. Over the course of their performance of TIME, the performer reads the current time out loud at intervals of their choice. 

When invited to participate in Da in die Front, Juergen Staack reflected on classical statues made from materials such as marble, bronze or concrete. The exterior of these statues changes over time as they develop a patina or their forms gradually lose definition. Natural weathering is a very slow process, too slow to be visible to the human eye, and therefore elusive – like time. This resembles the ageing process in human beings, on whom statues are often modelled. Is it then the person who is the original, or is it the derived, materialised sculpture? In his exhibition, Juergen Staack replaces the sculpted figure with a living body, thereby highlighting the finite nature of life, and asks us: What are we doing with our time? What is the role of ageing and age in connection with time?

The piece NOW, a punch clock located outside the exhibition room, is an attempt to render time tangible as a sort of “instant image”, a memory. Visitors can have the punch clock stamp a postcard by the artist, making the resulting print a record of what a particular individual was doing at a specific point in time.

In 2017, I organized an exhibition titled “Da instinktiv die Frontalansicht dominiert…” at Werft77 in Düsseldorf that led me in a new direction. In this exhibition I presented work by Nina Nowak, Philipp Röcker, and Thomas Schütte, as well as my own sculptures. The common theme of the exhibited work was the bust. As a fragment of a statue, this collaboration became the initial spark for Da in die Front. Within this concept, I went on to work with Peter Ewig, Camillo Grewe, Christine Moldrickx, Angela Fette, Christoph Westermeier & Jurgen Ots, and Rene Spitzer. The series of exhibitions I developed formulates a new kind of interaction and is my very personal and individual approach to entering into a cooperative dialog. A specific reference to the classic statue provides the intersection point between the involved artists and is highlighted in individual presentations by each participant. The aspects of contemporary sculpture collected in this way will ultimately be compiled into a publication designed to initiate further exploration and discussion. Through this dissection Da in die Front creates an artistic battery charged by diversity and at the same time serves as a sensorium for the statue’s place in the here and now.

Matthias Grotevent

Da in die front is supported by Kulturamt der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf, Stadtsparkass Düsseldorf, Kunststiftung NRW, Stiftung Kunstfonds, Neustart Kultur, Gieselmann