[artinfo] Lord Jim Lodge powered by monochrom

das ende der nahrungskette jg at monochrom.at
Thu Jul 5 11:08:27 CEST 2007

Lord Jim Lodge powered by monochrom


In 1985 a number of Austrian and German artists 
(Jörg Schlick, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen 
and Wolfgang Bauer) had an idea over late-night 
schnapps to found an "art lodge". They birthed it 
as "Lord Jim Lodge" 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Jim_Lodge) and 
created a slogan (Nobody Helps Nobody) and a logo 
(Sun Breasts Hammer), with the intention that the 
logo should become more well-known than that of 
Coca-Cola. This, we might say, was a somewhat 
classic way of being stuck in the powerlessness 
of 1980ies-antiart-art. The members of the lodge 
used the logo on many of their artworks and tried 
to distribute it that way. Martin Kippenberger -- 
who became one of the bestselling German artists 
of the 20th century only after his death in 1997 
-- used it on his installations and 
self-portraits. The Lodge was quite active, at 
one moment even publishing a low-circulation 
magazine, but after Kippenberger's death a 
growing disinterest of the other members the 
Lodge seemed to predominate. It seems the project 
had been charged with high symbolic capital, but 
low in effort. So in 2005 Jörg Schlick invited 
members of the group monochrom to a talk and 
informed them about a severe sickness then 
over-taking him - essentially indicating that he 
can't take care of the Lodge any longer. He asked 
monochrom to use it and to do more projects, to 
"let it rock". monochrom thought about the 
concept of "rocking" and had the idea of a 
"hostile take-over", of "restarting the Lodge", 
creating "franchises", "profit-maximizing" the 
prestitious brand that nobody cared about in a 
long time. monochrom created a fake 
art-consulting company called 
Teyssandier-Springer that would represent the 
"investment group monochrom". 
Teyssandier-Springer called in a press conference 
in Berlin and invited journalists and people from 
the art world. Teyssandier-Springer reported that 
they had sent out letters to all the important 
museums and galleries worldwide (like MOMA, etc.) 
containing the information that monochrom had 
bought all the Lodge's rights including the 
trademark rights for the logo - and monochrom is 
now investigated as exploiting possible 
infringements of the trademark. Many extremly 
valueable artworks would feature the logo -- 
including Kippenberger's beststelling paintings. 
So monochrom asserted its rights to proportionate 
financial remuneration for the use of its 
intellectual property and that the group intended 
to take legal action to ensure compliance. The 
responding letters and telephone calls were 
dominated by the wish for "a settlement out of 
court", for example gallery X in Y: "Our 
associate, Mr. Z, will contact you regarding a 
more exact appraisal of the sum involved." The 
media reported about the "legal art crisis". The 
process caused big trouble in the so-called "art 
world". This was an interesting effect, because 
it seemed to indicate that that "art world" was 
not at all briefed about something like 
"copy/trademark rights". The rumor geysers didn't 
stop. The "profit-oriented group monochrom" 
wanted to speed up business and took part in an 
art contest called "Coca Cola Light Art Edition", 
mainly because the members remembered that one of 
the original ideas of the Lodge was to beat 
Coca-Cola in the mass market of signs. monochrom 
stamped the logo onto a piece of paper, sent in 
the application and won. The logo was printed on 
50.000 bottles of Coca-Cola Light and the group 
got 5000 euros of prize money. Not a bad 
performance for six months of business activity. 
monochrom sought out a possibility to present 
their "market leadership" and chose the format of 
twelve oil paintings. monochrom created twelve 
photoshop files and sent them to China. Guo Cun 
Can, a Chinese painter painted them in oil 
(140x100cm) in three weeks, sent them back to 
Europe and charged 2500 euros. monochrom is now 
selling them for 4500 euros per piece. Guo Cun 
Can will get a big portion of the sales, and will 
probably live from it for a long, long time. 
China, the biggest copy market in the world, is 
not only interested in copying Harry Potter 
books, DVDs or Nike shoes, they are also 
reproducing paintings. Here we meet professional 
faker, forgers, copiers... at least as long as 
capitalist economics of low labour costs allows 
it. But that's another story, isn't it?


Exhibition: May 15 thru June 15, 2007; Galerie Bleich-Rossi, Wien.



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