We are super excited to welcome Cómeme to Le Bain. He'll be celebrating both the new exhibition at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 Who Framed Sarah Szczesny? (Sarah is the artist behind the artworks of the label) and the release of Christian S' new record Pitch Rider. Both are based in Cologne, where Christian used to organize the Lost parties with Matias Aguayo. We sat down with Sarah while she was getting ready with her exhibition.
The Standard: How did you take over/approach the design of Cómeme?
When Matias Aguayo asked Christian S. and me to work on a redesign of the labels artwork, we just continued what we had been doing for quite a long time. The first cover I participated was for Matias Aguayos and Dirk Leyers project Closer Musik in 2001. They had a painting of mine hanging in their studio and made the song One Two Three, No Gravity in reaction to it. In the end the artwork became the cover.
How do you think your art fit the philosophy of the label?
To create interferences and co-operations is one major interest shared by the cómemian community. Cómeme is not just a label but a space of encounter for a collective production, exchange and experiment but also in respect to each ones individual work. Above grouping single artists under one label, there is a strong interest in working together. You hardly find a record of one member, where others have not been involved in the release. Those aspects are also important while thinking about the artwork. Christian and I developed the design and will keep on doing so, but also the others might take bits and pieces or even further develop parts of it out of our control. I very much appreciate when an aesthetic language is taken over, and continued by other artists of Cómeme.
Once I developed a T-shirt design where I apply an all over pattern of the logo on the shirt. Some time later I discovered a photo by Cómeme Artist Sano, who appropriated the style and, applied the pattern himself on an other shirt – he made a very beautiful interpretation of the design, I liked it a lot. The idea counts not authorship!
Matias Agayo "Chris S is the man with the master plan".
Which labels and/or record cover designer inspired you?
When Christian S. and I started to think about the new Cómeme-logo and the label design I was obsessed with patterns, in particular all over patterns. So I had the idea to treat the letters Cómeme as a pattern that would form an own sign. Memphis Group was definitely an important reference in this process, so I actually had Ettore Sottsass furniture in mind instead of other record cover designers... I love collecting vinyl ever since, very often I buy one because the image interests me. It’s really a great format for visuals. The last time I went crazy with buying records was in Tokyo. I love Japanese pop music from the 70s and early 80s and the cover designs of that period are very inspiring too.
Tell us about the Lost parties in Cologne?
Christian S. had already done the Lost design for some time, when he asked me to participate in doing it, so Lost was the beginning of our cooperation – apart of his music, Christian is also a graphic designer and does all the Cómeme design, while I deliver the artwork. Some flyers even featured comic drawings of Matias Aguayo! During the 'lost days' Matias and Christian developed a very unique sound, very groovy and at the same time deep and dark. Lost! They invited acts who would rarely DJ in Cologne at that time, one of my favorite nights were when Mo from Electro Music Department played, Baby Ford or Elbee Bad were invited.
Are you based in Cologne? What's the most fun about it?
Yes I am a Kölnerin and I have to say: Cologne is a village. But in respect to its size there is a very high rate of people with great dedication and knowledge of music. I read that Tim Sweeney once compared Cologne with Sesame Street by writing something like Wolfgang Voigt is waving from the Kompakt store while Aguyao is dancing with Barnt on the street. I don’t want to destroy this image, of course it is like this! Cologne is a very musical Muppet Town!
How would you put your work as an artist into music?
Hm, that is very hard to tell. I only could tell you about what I’m listening to in my studio. If I m not randomly listening to the last Prefab Sprout album of course I am addicted to Radio Cómeme! Lena Willikens has this great show called Sentimental Flashback. Im also a true follower of Christian S' I Love You show, or La Noche de los Discos Vivientes by Carlos Reinoso to name a very interesting show from Chile! Lately I enjoyed very much listening to this record Jack Smith and Tony Conrad recorded just a few houses away from Ludlow 38, where my exhibition is.
What are your expectations when showing your art here in NYC?
Here in New York different things really converge in a very nice way. First of all I have known the curator, Eva Birkenstock, for quite some time before she invited me to the show. We are both from Cologne and have already cooperated in the past. When she was still directing the gallery Halle für Kunst Lüneburg, she invited Bar Ornella to do a show there – Bar Ornella was a space for art and music I run with a group befriended artists. Peter Abs, who will be DJing in Le Bain on the 15th, was also part of it, so together with artist Bernadette Mittrup we three collectively developed an installation. What we created in the end reminded of a stage-like-situation with different abstract objects as protagonists. It already included some cartoony elements, I remember we used the term Comic Futurism when talking about the work. On the other hand Eva also has worked with Cómeme, last summer she invited Matias Aguayo X Mostro to present the album The Visitor at the Kunsthaus Bregenz during her summer festival. Those moments of cooperation are our points of departure for the New York project, since from the beginning we decided to present both, my artistic production as well as my activities within the label.
What can we expect at Ludlow 38?
I am not going to tell you much more about what is happening in my show on Ludlowstreet, since you have to come-by and see it on site. I did a whole new series of works and the entrance is free! For now we are still busy installing, but of course we are all very much looking forward to the opening and the record release with you at Le Bain. It is really great that this is happening, especially since it was important for us from the beginning to find a way to present the label within the context for which it is made for: the dancefloor.
Sarah Szczesnys solo exhibition Who Framed Sarah Szczesny? will open on February 15th from 6:00-9:00pm at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38. It will be on view until March 30th 2014.
Saturday February 15, Le Bain presents Night People X Cómeme X Ludlow 38 featuring Christian S and Peter Abs as special guests from Cómeme alongside Lloydksi, Blu Jemz and Eli Escobar. The Standard, High Line. Doors 10pm.