Machines to Change the World: The Cabinet of Ramon Haze
The Cabinet of Ramon Haze opened a collection presentation last week at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig as part of the exhibtion „Am Ende diese Arbeit“ (on view until January 31, 2021). Now KOW made its own selection from Ramon Haze's collection. In particular, Edward Baranov-Knepp, who was born in Ryazan, Russia in 1891, takes center stage.
Baranov-Knepp studied engineering shortly after the October Revolution in Moscow. He was close to the constructivist circles and began sculpting under the influence of Tatlin, Malewich and Rodtschenko. When Stalinism thwarted the visions of a truly communist society, he moved to Paris in the early 1930s and went on to pursue an artistic practice that sought to use the technological advances of the industrial age to accomplish revolutionary goals. It was to be a sculptor life's work that remained unfinished.
The Cabinet of Ramon Haze contains the only collection of 70 individual parts of the Machine for changing the world for the good that Baranov-Knepp worked on until his death in 1974. Even though many of the parts show signs of heavy use and can still be assembled today, it is unclear whether the machine ever worked as a whole. In addition, Baranov-Knepp lost several architectural competitions that he participated hoping to finance and publicly install his machine. KOW shows a selection of Baranov-Knepp's architectural models, including a draft for the redesign of the fountain area in front of the Leipzig Monument to the Battle of the Nations, which was to be renovated and expanded.
The presentation is expanded by a group of figures by Kult Helm (born 1967 in Husum Strand, died 2037 in Leipzig). At the end of the 20th century, the long-unrecognized artist developed his figure programs, which made him famous at an old age (cf. Great State Circus, 1998 ff.). Using small groups of innocent animal figurines to recreate mass scences, Helm succeeded in depicting the logic of authoritarian state machines clear and at the same time escaping the censorship that ruled over all critical art in Germany in the 2020s.
In addition, we show one of the few known works by the minimalist A–W whose identity still remains unknown, but who was probably one of the first to spatialize a line. This significantly contributed to a different understanding of time and history. The work The Rat (We subordinate ourselves), probably from 1972, is a small sculpture consisting of bent wire and a thick thread tightly wrapped around themselves. Four Prosperators (1955) by Zacharias Dewar and one edition of Franz Erhard Walther's Mental Work (1982) round off the exhibition and open it up to a participatory concept of art.