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Paweł Althamer: Almech
Contributions by Anne Applebaum, Paweł Moscicki, and Nat Trotman
Published in 2012
128 pages with 70 color illustrations
Softcover, 7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches
Since the early 1990s Paweł Althamer has developed a singularly participatory mode of art making, generating unique social experiences for his collaborators and audiences alike while also producing a distinct body of sculptural work. For his Deutsche Guggenheim commission—the 17th in the museum’s series—Althamer has fused these two trends in his practice, creating an exhibition-in-progress. Almech is born out of a physical and psychic exchange between the museum and Almech, a small plastics-manufacturing firm founded and operated by the artist’s father in Wesoła, a suburb of Warsaw. Relocating a branch of this factory to Berlin, Althamer has set up machines and workers in the exhibition space, where they produce sculptural portraits of staff and museumgoers. This extensively illustrated volume documents this project throughout its many stages—from preparations in Wesoła through the creation of the first sculptures at the Almech art factory in Berlin. The accompanying essays provide important insights into this exchange between museum and factory: Nat Trotman, curator of Almech, explains how the project fits within the artist’s 20-year career while the Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum elucidates a history of the Almech factory. Critic Paweł Moscicki places the artist’s participatory practice within a wider social and historical context.