For the first time, the Hamburg-based artist Wiebke Siem (b. 1954) will exhibit her current group of works entitled "Kleider, Frisuren, Tücher, Wagen" ("Clothes, hairdos, scarves, cars") almost in its entirety at Portikus. Until now, only smaller ensembles were shown. The open situation at Portikus allows filling the room with objects, making it a kind of temporary anthropological museum.

In an almost encyclopedic manner, Wiebke Siem isolates types of items of practical use. In her drawings and objects she remains close to the human body. Until 1991 they included clothes, hats, bags, and shoes. The series of types are first developed in her drawings. Already in this phase, the items appear unusually stiff, as if they were cast, like filled volumes. One can hardly conceive actually using them. The charming colours highlight the slight irony conspicuous in Wiebke Siem's works. The clothes are massive and clumsy-looking, more like suits of armour, the hairdos resemble helmets, the scarves mats, and the cars appear immovable. The idea of using these objects vanishes at first sight. To underline this turn of events, the catalogue only contains drawings, thus demonstrating their model character. The necessary distance is upheld, something photographic reproductions of the original objects would not.

The proximity to costume-design and theatre props is important. What remains of a culture can be found in theatre plays and burial objects. What is used, changes. Cult objects, on the other hand, embody timelessness and question everyday existence.

Wiebke Siem's collection of "Clothes, hairdos, scarves, cars" remains fragmentary. Even if almost all the realised objects of the group developed since 1991 are on display, the individual object-character remains in the foreground as does the future continuation of the series. It becomes evident that Wiebke Siem examines the basic forms of human culture. The achieved old-fashioned effect and rigidity of her works is wonderfully fascinating, much like a fairy-tale.

Photos: Katrin Schilling