Accessible for visitors of the museum since November 15, 2013:


"Art Submarine"
by Andreas M. Kaufmann and Hans Ulrich Reck

Entitled "I CAN BECAUSE I WANT WHAT I NEED", the "Art Submarine" is a collaborative project initiated by the artist Andreas M. Kaufmann and the image scientist and art historian Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Reck. A new acquisition to the Stroher Collection, the art work was installed in front of the MKM museum in Duisburg's Inner Harbour in the autumn of 2013 and has now been incorporated as an "external exhibit'" into the MKM's permanent collection. Previously, the sculpture had been premièred during celebrations of the European City of Culture RUHR.2010 on Essen's Lake Baldeney. In honour of the new presentation at  the MKM, the submarine sculpture has now been completely refurbished and the approximately 8-metre-long and 3.2-metre-high collage reworked and redesigned by the artist-scientist duo.

A cathedral of visually encoded knowledge

For Andreas M. Kaufmann and Hans Ulrich Reck the submarine represents a body of visually encoded knowledge, which is at times both visible, and, by virtue of its capacity to submerge, invisible. In equal measure it symbolises the camouflage and deception deployed by the military, the politicians and the media, together with invisible power and violence – the levels of interpretation are manifold here. The central concern of the artist-scientist duo is to fashion "a political-iconographically reflected vision of a specific »cathedral of historically significant visual imagination« (…). Here the emphasis lies on the description of the effectiveness and boundaries of the visual medium." (Andreas M. Kaufmann/Hans Ulrich Reck).

Cut out from the skin of the conning tower, the letters "I CAN BECAUSE I WANT WHAT I NEED" serve as a monitors, which – analogous to the factors motivating the selection of the images, namely war, politics and the media – cast the spotlight onto the selected events portrayed, with the majority of the other images remaining shrouded in semi-darkness. At the same time, the cathedral-like interior of the walk-in sculpture encases the entire visual knowledge within a protected zone, which is able to symbolically preserve the content through its capacity to submerge.

Following the gestures of gazing up, straight ahead and down
Whilst conducting the necessary restoration work to mark the new presentation in the MKM,  Kaufmann und Reck were once again confronted with the visual material of the collage. This prompted the decision to rework and sharpen the focus of particularly the backlit letters in accordance with the overall artistic-scientific conception. Yet, at the same time, the visual material itself remains largely unaltered – in contrast to its arrangement: In the revised montage the following themes are more clearly assigned to the three vertically-aligned headings "I CAN" (1) – "BECAUSE I WANT" (2)  – "WHAT I NEED" (3): 1) Constructive visions, values, ideals, 2) Media-transmitted reality, 3) World of dreams, traumas and delusions, but also of concealed knowledge. As before, they conform to the gestures of gazing up, straight ahead and down. The relatively small remaining mix of themes is deliberate, given that our myriad living realities are not experienced in isolation from each other.

Essentially, the creation of the montage took place in an associative fashion, resembling the character of dreams. In such a process the previous image or motif leads automatically to the next image. In this way, shorter or longer image sequences can be generated successively which ultimately function as visual narratives – free of any intended logic.

Picturegallery of the assembling/anchorage on October 10, 2013