Lother Baumgarten, born 1944 in Rheinberg and living in Düsseldorf, already exhibited a number of situational artistic works in the beginning of the 70s; works that were temporarily present within a specific context and can now only be accessed via photographs. Baumgarten has continued with and expanded this working method until today, examples being his works Entenschlaf (Der große Metaphysiker) and Entenschlaf (Wegwurf) at the documenta IX 1992, as well as the wall painting created this year, America Invention at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

With Lothar Baumgarten's exhibition, Portikus continues its series of special presentations parallel to the book fair.

The artist is, however, expands the thematic scope: the work refers to Portikus as a remnant of the former Municipal Library of Frankfurt, constructed by Johann Friedrich Christian Heß between 1820 and 1825. "The library, a place in which knowledge was and is stored and preserved", says Baumgarten, "becomes a place for reflecting upon the continuously changing use of language, upon the 'wilderness' of concepts and the destruction of their unspecific meanings." Wall paintings are to create a field of tension marking the hiatus between the signifying names of fauna and flora representing the topographically-specified area of the former Municipal Library, and the often untranslatable deposits of thoughtless and cynical language usage currently characterising our political culture. Portikus becomes a place of discourse during the period of the book fair, a discourse investigating the influence of the use of language on the climate of a society with a specific background.

Photos: Katrin Schilling