In the summer of 2019, Inga Charlotte Thiele realized the exhibition project "I am a City of Habits" in three different cities throughout Germany.
This is an additional, commissioned text piece in which she looks back and reflects on her experiences.
Please find the installation views and exhibition text of "I am a City of Habits" here.
the only thing that moves me now is moving, I think to myself, summer landscapes, blue skies rushing by my window, Slowdive playing softly in my ears. above our heads, a bag full of art. in June, knowing that I’d be leaving Vienna for a while in summer, I started fantasizing about three different exhibitions, taking place in three German cities, over the course of four weeks, showing works by seven artists, who in one way or another have been important for me throughout my first year in this city. I meet them in their studios, we choose works that I can see going well together in the shows and that I know won’t be too heavy for me to carry around. I want something modest, spontaneous, intimate. seeing myself more as a representative than a curator, I guess what I’m aiming for, is a consciousness that takes curating as well as art writing as social gestures.
on my second day in Düsseldorf, everyone at the Hauptbahnhof looks like you from afar, while I stand and wait for J. my back hurts from carrying the artworks, I already feel exhausted; we installed until around midnight, afterwards, B. and I went to get food down the street of my first Düsseldorf flat. you don't look back along time but down through it, like water. sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. nothing goes away.
on our way to Hamburg, we shortly fall asleep. I haven’t been in this city in seven years, which feels totally absurd. I want to see R. again and the show she organized about Moondog and it just feels like it’s time to make peace with this place. as I unwrap the works in the basement of Chez Malik’s, a feeling of safety unfolds. like the too many books that you take with you on a trip and which you know you won’t be able to read, but that give you comfort in the sense that they are some kind of portable feeling of home, these objects that travel with me are now my companions. the show and the works exhibited exist for themselves, but I also in a way exhibit my relationship to them. I am curious about these logics of ownership and representation, as well as the interrelations of the public, the private and the political. like a ‚guerrilla curator‘ (quote J.), I am overtaking a few available spaces for a short amount of time, then going away and leaving only a few traces on the walls in the basement of a bar. it might be that I don’t fully understand what I am doing (yet), I rather am playing around like Robert Ashley was when he wrote the piece which borrows its title to the shows. ‚maybe you should write‘ someone says to me at the opening night - ‚I do, that’s what I do‘ I answer‚ ‚I mean, you should write more‘.
‚I miss Vienna‘, I later confess to B. on the newly opened roof terrace of the Pudel, while someone who I still care about a lot and who just dropped acid sits on a bench on the other side of the building.
on my way to Berlin, I am in this weird hungover/melancholic state of mind where everything feels important, and maybe it is. I now reached my limits of what I can bear, emotionally as well as physically. I know there’s no other way than pushing through. why is it that the most complicated times of your life often at the same time are the best ones? infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive –
I don’t really believe that there are universal art world rules that can be applied to a lot of different attempts of curation, writing, or production. we all just figure it out as we ride along, and everyone is along for the ride, it seems. next to another J., in the bar, I can’t wait for us to both have had the appropriate number of drinks until it’s okay for me to kiss him. we fall asleep listening to Ashley and Moondog, the two other companions of my travels. there is no other way than living this life in absolute symbiosis with your so-called professional and your private life: nothing stops existing, I am never stagnant;
sitting in my Vienna living room now, sweating, intoxicated by nicotine and caffeine, I cannot help but feeling truly thankful; for all the support, love, care and help I received from everyone (new and old friends, family, strangers) throughout this trip, which now feels like a distant dream rather than something that actually happened. I admit, it was a little insane, but worth it. Bruno’s postcards, that are now mounted above my bed, are proof of the traces that we have left –
(Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts; Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye; Sylvia Plath, Fever 103; John Ashbery, Worsening Situation; Virginia Woolf, The Waves)