Telling a story from the past that is not free from historical error, is an endeavour that is almost impossible to perform. Most people have probably read a book or watched a series or film that - although based on the past- takes a lot of liberties and includes major plot points based on embellished historical moments, or ones that are downright inaccurate. Even anecdotes about ancestors in families can never be told to future generations without some bias or inaccuracy, often due to false memory or even mistranslations.
“Retelling Untold Tales from Mokum” is a site-specific installation that plays with the idea of the impossibility to give an objective view on stories from former times, and presents multiple threads of narratives from various decades in Amsterdam. In methods that may be described as detours, digressions and open-ended gestures, historical facts are deliberately merged with false information and become something entirely new. A major part of the installation are windows that in a repetitive manner offer perceptions on various aspects and layers of local and global occurrences, different epochs, seriousness and humour.
The windows refer to the Dutch cultural tradition to have uncurtained front windows that usually are passionately decorated and reveal one's interiors to everyone who passes by. This unique act is supposed to have its roots in the Protestant religious tradition of Calvinism, which asserts that honest citizens have nothing to hide. Closing the curtains might make you suspicious, so you better offer people a look inside your home to let them know that you are a decent person. In the bold work by the artist brothers Christoph & Sebastian Mügge the Dutch directness, the so called “bespreekbaarheid” is combined with the infamous Dutch window, while at the same time questioning the accuracy of all sorts of tales behind oral, written or other forms of deliverances.
The installation showcases the window to our own reality of e.g. inherited meaningful objects or images containing an intimate story that wasn't consigned in the right way. Since everyone adds to the story one can not tell what was the original version or what really happened. Stories have often been concocted, and the past has been transfigured in a similar way to how fake news or so called alternative facts are created. For instance peoples have excluded less flattering episodes of their youth on purpose. It is up to the exhibition visitors to fill the objects, drawings and representations with new interpretations based on their own background, personal references, projections and fantasy.
Sebastian Mügge (b. 1981) and Christoph Mügge (b. 1983) were both born in Bonn, Germany and live in Sweden. Sebastian got his MFA degree from Umeå Academy of Fine Arts in 2011 and Christoph studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where he received his diploma in 2013. Both artists mainly work with interdisciplinary and site-specific projects on a large scale. They have a strong personal artistic language that builds on repetitions of a diversity of materials in many techniques. Their formations often interweave historical events with the contemporary where questions regarding identity, power structures and how various conflicts influence our daily life are examined in a playful and humorous manner. Together they have exhibited at Museum Villa Rot (DE), Plateforme (Paris, FR), DG Kunstraum (Munich, DE), The Koppel Project (London, UK), Ostrale Biennale (Dresden, DE), Sinne (Helsinki, FI), PARTcours Biennial (Brussels, BE), Æther (Sofia, BG), Kunstverein Baden (Baden, AT), Kristianstads konsthall (Kristianstad, SE), Vestfold Kunstsenter (Tønsberg, NO), Södertälje konsthall (Södertälje, SE), OK Corral (Copenhagen, DK), DAS ESSZIMMER – space for art+ (Bonn, DE), Meno Parkas Galerija (Kaunas, LT), Periscope (Salzburg, AT) and P8 Gallery (Tel Aviv, IL).