The book review magazine LISTEN, founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1985, decided, after it's second issue, to offer the non-editorial space of its magazine to artists. Gerald Domenig (No. 3) and Thomas Bayrle (No. 5) then set new standards for the further design of the subsequent issues of LISTEN through their suggestions and the presentation of their own works. For many readers this unprecedented form of publishing photography and art in the context of a literary magazine was at once disturbing and productive. Art was not to be abused as illustration, but to stand for itself. LISTEN thus began an exchange between the fields of literature and art, which, in this form, seldom occurs.

The concept of LISTEN is to make available - depending on the size of the issue - at least six full pages (including the cover) for an artist to present his/her pictures independently of the text in black-and-white. These can either be photographs, computer drawings (Max Mohr, No. 7), water-colours (Beate von Essen, No. 8), photographed sculptures (Bertram Schüler, No. 9), novel photograms (Vollrad Kutscher, No. 10), Photomaton-montages (Andreas Bartels, No. 19), or photocopy-works (Charly Steiger, No. 21).

The content-independent confrontation of artistic image and texts creates, by opening up a space for fantasy, new possibilities of reading: without image and text restricting each other in terms of expressiveness, these confrontations often lead to unsuspected imaginations, reflections, and insights. These experiences are expanded and altered by comparing the various LISTEN issues, the characteristics of which are largely influenced by the pictures.

The selection of artists and their works is not oriented towards a certain art movement or art group, but towards a communicative process which is taken up and continued by the involved artists. Apart from presenting all LISTEN issues on the walls of Portikus, the artists show new works on seven columns distributed inside the hall. The combination of the pictures printed in the magazine with the artistic works - presented in a single exhibition space at Portikus - has many surprises in store for the exhibiting artists as well.

As the large majority of those involved live and work in Frankfurt am Main, there is the opportunity to view a diversity of current art production in Frankfurt not yet shown in such a context.

Photo: Katrin Schilling