LA PROGRESSION ET LA PERTE/VOORUITGANG EN VERLIES
SALOON is delighted to present its next exhibition by German artist Peppi Bottrop. ‘LA PROGRESSION ET LA PERTE/VOORUITGANG EN VERLIES’ features a spatial installation, extending the abstract language of the artist as well as referring to the transition to post-industrial society.
Peppi Bottrop is known for his large graphite and charcoal drawings on different carriers like canvas and fermacell board, often directly attached to the wall. In his last exhibition at gallery Jan Kaps, his rhythmical and dense abstract language evolved towards a more focused, scattered and reduced phrasing, as if he zoomed in on his own works with a microscope. This evolution is echoed in his installation showed at SALOON. Bottrop builds a space in the space out of fermacell boards, and covers them with well-considered lines of cables and other industrial artifacts. These are marks of the artist, traces of actions, decisions and impulses.
The installation refers to the closing of the last operational coalmine in Germany. The mine Prosper-Haniel in Bottrop, the last of 150 mines in Ruhrgebiet, will shut down in 2018. It is an inescapable and necessary progression, part of the ‘Energiewende’ in Germany. On the other hand this transition towards a post-industrial society leaves its citizens with a yet undefined future. They face the loss of their jobs they identified with and which determined their daily lives. Once the beating heart of German economy, it became the symbol of a downfall caused by structural transformation. By building an installation that could be a fictive part of the mine, Peppi Bottrop constructs a silent witness of this rupture and transition.
The Ruhrgebiet, with his 5,1 million inhabitants on 4435 square kilometers, counted 600.000 mineworkers by the end of the fifties. Nowadays, there are about 3.900. In Prosper-Haniel, the amount of workers will shrink from about 3000 to 1000 by 2018. The coal phase-out will cost Germany up to 29,5 billion euro. Tax money will cover 21,5 billion, which will be used for subsidies and adaptation aid for the workers. From this amount, the Bundesrepublik settles the bill of 17 billion euro, whereas 4 billion will flow in from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The rest, about 8 million euro, will be borne by RAG Kohle-Stiftung. The ‘eternity costs’ like mountain damage and the pumping of groundwater, counted on 6,9 billion, will also be paid by the Kohle-Stiftung. Germany has 1,6 billion to pay the pensions of the miners. The unemployment rate in this region, despite governmental measures and the efforts to modify the economical focus, is with 10,8% (2016) amongst the highest in Germany. In no other state, the poverty rate has risen so high as in North Rhine-Westphalia. One on five inhabitants of the Ruhrgebiet is considered as poor – which is about 1 million people. 40% or 300 million euro of the outgoings of the government of Oberhausen are social spending, a number that is representative for the rest of the region. 18,6% of the children in North Rhine-Westphalia are raised in a family depending on unemployment pay. In Duisburg, Dortmund oder Essen it are 30%. In Gelsenkirchen 40%.
Peppi Bottrop was born in 1986 in Bottrop, Germany. He lives and works in Düsseldorf, where he graduated as Meisterschuler at the Kunstakademie studying with Albert Oehlen and Andreas Schulze. His work has been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Jan Kaps, Cologne; Kunstverein Heppenheim; Open Forum, Berlin; Museum Quadrat, Bottrop; Kunsthalle Recklinghausen.
Judith Van Eeckhout
Photography: Lola Pertsowsky, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and SALOON