Giles Bailey
I Bought a Little City



2 May 13


Foto: Giles Bailey
Foto: Giles Bailey


Giles Bailey I Bought a Little City

Last Summer I spent two months in Marfa Texas, a remote West Texan town to which the sculptor Donald Judd relocated from New York City in 1972.

Over the two decades that followed his move the town grew - thanks to his influence, establishment of the Chinati Foundations and the purchase of significant amounts of real estate - into a significant cultural presence with many galleries and venues upon which the global art world certainly has its eye. While in Marfa I happened to read the story by American writer Donald Barthelme (himself a Texan who happened to have moved to New York), published in the New Yorker in 1974, from which this performance takes its title. This short work of fiction can be seen as a wry, absurdist indictment of proprietorship and urban regeneration that feels strangely resonant in the context of the town.

The peculiar, dissonant collision of these two figures became the starting point for a work that takes a format of artist's talk haunted by history's apparent authority and awkward, unruly legacies.

At KW Institute for Contemporary Art this project continues where over a single day two subjects navigate the uncertain, contested and overloaded context of Berlin. They seek promised creative, cultural and political solutions but with whom must they share it and where are they going to find the money?

Via a collage of video and monologue the work negotiates the anxieties that are born form such legacies in relation to failure, doubt and the looming presence of fiction.