Interventions | Leopold Kessler

Reported by Wei Tong

Leopold Kessler is a German artist whose works focus on public space and involves strange acts that interacts with public facilities to point out gaps in everyday scenarios.

During the Biennale, 3 videos that documented his interventions was displayed. One thing I found very special in Kessler’s interventions is their invisibilty. Kessler once wore a bright fluorescent orange vest in one of his interventions which made him highly visible to the public, yet invisible at the same time as he was disguised as a construction worker.The video I like the most was the one where he connected an electrical cable from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna to his own apartment, so he could be supplied with free electricity from the school. He described it as a privatisation of state infrastructure, challenging the impression that public space is always under control and surveillance.

I find it amazing at how he attempt to shift the boundaries between public and private space. Perhaps he thinks that there’s never been a boundary in the first place. However, the Singapore Biennale may not be the best place to showcase his interventions. Many of the works need to seek approval from the authorities. I doubt that it was even existed on the fringes of being illegal, which was the whole point of an intervention. Kessler could have at least tried to work in the grey zone between what was permitted and what was not.

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