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The Late Estate Broomberg & Chanarin @FiC CentreArt Contemporani Barcelona

Farewell, Broomberg & Chanarin!

Mar 03, 2021 - Redaktion

How do you react if an artist duo, and one that you personally admire and enjoyed collaborating with, commits suicide? Who do you turn to for your condolences? What do you write if you have the feeling that everything has been written, and the virtual bubble we share has expressed their grief? It’s probably best to turn to your memories and think back.
Back in 2018, we were thinking who to invite as guest artists, after we had done the first guest-edited issue with Jason Fulford. Broomberg & Chanarin were on top of our list. With Adam and Olly being her teachers at the time, Gita Cooper-van Ingen created initial contact. I had met Adam on a couple of occasions, and had felt a little intimidated by him. I also thought he would never remember me. Olly, no meetings prior to Gita sending the invite.

We were thrilled to hear that they wanted to collaborate with us and guest edit issue 12. We connected at a time – late 2018 – when both were already physically separated, with Adam having relocated to Berlin, and Olly being in London. In our first call, Adam said that their practice had changed due to the fact that they were now located in two different cities, with two different studios. They had this call and response thing going on, where they were sending images from their archive back and forth and then printing them on cardboard boxes – what turned out to be the work “Bandage the Knife not the wound”.
The second call was with Olly, and he came up with the idea for the open call, to ask for images that you’ve never put online. The most underground, private, etc. images… This was where the entire idea for the issue, later entitled “Blame the Algorithm”, started. We had taken the title from a poster they had produced with Chopped Liver Press a couple of months earlier.

I only now notice how anticipatory the situation was in regards to our COVID-lockdown-WFH times that we’re living in right now – I only went to what used to be their shared studio and had now become Olly’s artist studio in London two times during our collaboration. Most of the time we engaged and met online. I happened to take a lot of screenshots of the google meet sessions we had while conceiving the issue. I assume we all have these ways of documenting our memories now, since everyone is forced to be solely meeting online…
Looking back now, it also feels like Adam and Olly already started thinking about committing suicide subconsciously at that time. We never physically met together, it was always an either-or. Olly came to the release in Arles, while Adam attended a performative oxford-style debate we held in Munich. I remember Olly telling me that in case Adam would come back to London, he would want to keep his own separate studio, as he quite enjoyed it.

The same year that we were collaborating with Adam & Olly, and as a perfect coincidence, we had been invited by the municipality of Munich to conceive a project for the Stadtmuseum and Kunstinsel am Lenbachplatz, a billboard in the city centre. We connected both spaces conceptually to the issue, showing an installation of the entire sequence of images mounted on the museum walls of Stadtmuseum, and using a spread from the issue for the billboard at Kunstinsel am Lenbachplatz. It was great to create so many layers and spaces for the issue to be seen and for different audiences to interact with its concept.

In regards to their suicide, it’s feels strange and joyous to know that ℅ Berlin will show issue 12, guest edited by Broomberg & Chanarin, as well as image-combinations originating from it, in their upcoming exhibition “Send me an image”, scheduled to open March 27. In relation to the exhibition, we are teaming up with Chopped Liver Press to launch a limited edition of 50 of the “Blame the Algorithm” poster, together with the issue.
Commemorate a small part of the legacy of a great artist duo that left the world creatively and without the fear of facing death. This special edition was printed shortly before the death of Broomberg & Chanarin
P.S.: A huge THANK YOU goes out to Adam and Olly’s interns at that time, whithout whom the issue would not have been possible. Thanks Xiaofu Wang, Bruce Tobin, Ayala Gazit, Illana Welman and Lucas Gabellini-Fava from Chopped Liver Press!

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