02.02.2017

Book- and Website Launch + Screening 
02.02.2017, 19h

Helke Bayrle has—on her own initiative—filmed the installations of exhibitions that have been held at Portikus since the end of 1992. This complete filmography to date is published on the occasion of the constantly growing archive of short films. It includes a full index of the recorded exhibitions, short statements by the deans and curators that have worked at Städelschule and Portikus over the past years, as well as more than 1,000 film stills taken from the short films. The British art critic and art historian Kirsty Bell reflects upon the history of Portikus and the meaning of Helke Bayrle’s work over the past decades. A republished interview between the artist Sunah Choi—editor of the films since 2001—and Helke Bayrle rounds off the publication, providing behind-the-scenes insights into the making of Portikus Under Construction.
The publication coincides with the launch of a new website in early February 2017, www.portikusunderconstruction.de, which makes Helke Bayrle’s entire archive—now comprising 157 short films—available to the public. This decision also bears witness to the fact that the archive is itself a work in progress and, as such, will continue to grow in the coming years. 
Helke Bayrle’s films go beyond the documentary. A playful and thought-provoking working process that creates various short films from hours of material characterizes her practice. Her films are subjective, intimate observations of artists’ personalities and of the creative process of individual installations. It is the continuity of her practice and the openness of her approach that make Helke Bayrle’s films unique. In each one, she follows a different logic as demanded by the situation at hand.
Portikus occupied three different locations. Portikus Under Construction sheds light on the history of the institution as well as the variety of artistic interventions that have come to life in its various locations.