Loretta Fahrenholz, Champagne Galop at Kunsthaus Biel, 2024 / Courtesy of the artist / Photo: Lea Kunz
Loretta Fahrenholz: Champagner Galopp
Jun 9 – Aug 25, 2024
Kunsthaus Biel
Biel, Switzerland

Legend has it that the orchestral piece Champagne Galop (1845) was written by the Danish composer Hans Christian Lumbye after he skipped an invitation to an exclusive embassy celebration in Copenhagen. Lumbye supposedly never attended the festivities and instead went to his favorite pub. When he returned home late at night to tell his family about the party, he improvised this lively piece on the piano to accompany his made-up story. The pompous composition, a mere fantasy Lumbye’s about the upper classes, is now considered a classic of orchestral music.

Loretta Fahrenholz has created similar mimetic linkages in her solo presentation Champagner Galopp. A spatial installation newly conceived for Kunsthaus Biel presents two image series and several groups of objects immersed in magenta light. The 37-minute film Trash The Musical will be screened in the adjoining room. The exhibition explores questions around the increasing influence of technology on our understanding of identity and history.

The photo series Court Society 1-23 (2024) was produced over the course of various gatherings of the Höfische Gesellschaft Berlin, which the artist documented photographically. The Höfische Gesellschaft is a local association whose heterogeneous members use role play, (often self-made) costumes and the joint rehearsal of historical dances to approximate the lifestyle of the aristocracy of the Baroque era. Similar to a LARP (Live Action Role Play), each member embodies a historical or semi-fictional character. Besides an imaginary journey through time, this reenactment allows the club members temporary class mobility.

[ . . . ]

In both works, Fahrenholz investigates correlation between performative appropriations of styles and contexts and the technical principle of algorithmic AI technologies whose models are also trained to reprocess archived content: Text-to-image generators synthesize content from a pool of categorized data (e.g. «baroque») through a computational process. Similar to the meetings of the Höfische Gesellschaft, the result is not an authentic reconstruction, but a hybrid intersection of the available information. While referring to heterogeneous sources (e.g. paintings, cinematic representations, comics and illustrations, private pictures of costume parties, etc.), the outcome exists detached from their original value contexts and spaces of experience.

The eponymous spatial installation Champagner Galopp consists of storage boxes filled with colored water and draped with food and jewelry, evoking ephemeral still lifes or store displays. Reenacting the logic of AI algorithms, the showcases take up motifs from the exhibition while also referring to Biel as a leading production site for luxury watches. The faux brand accessories function as placeholders of a desired prosperity, while the inferior production quality of the surrogates still signifies the underlying social distinctions. In the exhibition, the watches and rings find themselves next to common potatoes and cucumbers, both equally stripped of their authenticity and history.

Loretta Fahrenholz: Champagner Galopp
Jun 9 – Aug 25, 2024
Kunsthaus Biel
Biel, Switzerland

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