"Merlin Carpenter asked the ICA Philadelphia, the original venue for this exhibition, to provide him with $4,000 cash. After some difficulty this was handed over a few days before the show opened. Neither the curator nor the ICA were told what the money was for. The artist then went on a wild shopping spree enjoying luxurious goods and services, with only the receipts and empty shopping bags exhibited. This project had nothing to do with Cologne."


above: Make Your Own Life, 2006. Shopping bags and receipts.

MAKE YOUR OWN LIFE: Artists In & Out of Cologne was curated by Bennett Simpson and organised by and first shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, from April 21st - July 31st, 2006. It then toured to Toronto, Seattle and Miami. The quote above is the wall text intended for this tour.

below: works L-R by Charline von Heyl, Merlin Carpenter, Blake Rayne and Albert Oehlen; photos by Aaron Igler with thanks

"...Merlin Carpenter drops his own pile of empty shells on the ICA floor. This is in the form of several bags from luxury clothes, music and other stores: leftovers from his $4K exhibition budget with which Carpenter bought items for himself and others. With this confrontational switch of the terms of production to those of consumption, Carpenter performs his complicity with the social's constitution in the sphere of commodity exchange. All historicizing aims are denied the means of good faith recollection, which frame social relations anterior to the market's function as merely objectified in its purview. Carpenter's work teeters between a reiteration of an already achieved reification and an inimitably acute rendering of the potential for insubordination to the demand that one perform to the super-ego like imperative to "Make Your Own Life"..." - Sam Lewitt, Club You Can't Get Into, Texte zur Kunst, September 2006


Others in this exhibition included: Bernadette Corporation, Cosima von Bonin, Stephan Dillemuth / Nils Norman, Uwe Gabriel, Thomas Kalthoff, Kiron Khosla, Hans-Jörg Mayer, Matthias Schaufler, Barbara Schüttpelz, Vivian Slee, Josef Strau, Ulrich Strothjohann, Vincent Tavenne, Iskender Yediler, Michaela Eichwald, Filmgruppe West, Andrea Fraser, Kim Gordon, Charline von Heyl, Gareth James with Roe Ethridge, Mike Kelley... zzzzzzz... Martin Kippenberger, Jutta Koether, Michael Krebber, Louise Lawler, Lucy McKenzie, Christian Philipp Müller, Nils Norman, Albert Oehlen, Stephen Prina, Josephine Pryde, Blake Rayne, Renna Spaulings, Rosemarie Trockel, and Christopher Williams and Wool.


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